Thursday, July 30, 2009

4 Years Of Blessing and Marriage to Lauren

Lauren Icenogle was in 1st and 2nd grade with me. I can truly say that I did not notice her all that much those days. I was more concerned with soccer and running away from the ladies then looking for a girlfriend.

After elementary we lost contact. Ok we did not really have contact in elementary, but still. We went to different middle schools, high schools and colleges.

It would not be until Aug.15th, 2003 when we would meet again. I was a new Christian that had just ended a very bad relationship with another girl that day, in search of Christian friends. She was a Christian raised in the church who was back from college also looking for friends. We both arrived as first time visitors to Calvary’s college group, called G.A.P.P. (or something similar). She had a Reliant K t-shirt on which for me signified that she was probably someone who knew her way around the church, so I could just follow her to figure out how to get to the room the group was meeting in. I was wrong. Lauren being new too, wandered all over the church looking for this group with me following her, thankfully she did not pull out the pepper spray.

It would not be for a couple more weeks until we really got to talk and meet.

And the know, is history.

There is a lot more to the story of how we got to where we are today, but I will always treasure that night, Lauren and I call it ‘the night I followed that girl in the Reliant K t-shirt.”

6 years later we celebrate our 4 year wedding anniversary.

I love her today more than I could have thought possible on the day we married, and more then even a year ago.

Lauren is a gentle, loving woman who I am so blessed to have as a wife.

She is a beautiful and Godly woman who loves Jesus more than me.

She is a patient and caring mother to Jordyn and Brayden, and I have no doubt will be the same with the new Griego due in November.

She is trusting and encouraging as she follows my lead at home and in our future prayers and plans to plant a church in downtown Albuquerque.

In short, Lauren is an evident sign of God’s Blessing and Grace in my life, and today I praise the Lord for 4 years together and if He wills many, many more!!

An excellent wife who can find?
She is far more precious than jewels. Proverbs 31:10

I married her 4 years ago, and she is far, far more precious!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Francis Chan Has New Book Coming Out

Pastor of Cornerstone Simi Valley Church, Francis Chan has a new book coming out about the role and authority of the Holy Spirit called, Forgotten God: Reversing Our Tragic Neglect of the Holy Spirit.

If you have followed this blog or been to The Well you know how much I have endorsed Chan's first book "Crazy Love". So I am very much looking forward to this next book, especially since we will be studying the book of Acts this coming year at The Well.

Here is a video preview:

And further explanation
A follow up to the profound message of Crazy Love, Pastor Francis Chan offers a compelling invitation to understand, embrace, and follow the Holy Spirit’s direction in our lives.

In the name of the Father, the Son, and … the Holy Spirit. We pray in the name of all three, but how often do we live with an awareness of only the first two? As Jesus ascended into heaven, He promised to send the Holy Spirit—the Helper—so that we could be true and living witnesses for Christ. Unfortunately, today’s church has admired the gift but neglected to open it.

Breakthrough author Francis Chan rips away paper and bows to get at the true source of the church’s power—the Holy Spirit. Chan contends that we’ve ignored the Spirit for far too long, and we are reaping the disastrous results. Thorough ural support and compelling narrative form Chan’s invitation to stop and remember the One we’ve forgotten, the Spirit of the living God.
Props: Vitamin Z

Peyton Manning Has Big Influence

I mean big influence...

Props: M. Kelley

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Hospitality Is Not Optional

“Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.” (Romans 12: 9-13, ESV)

I can remember walking into Desert Springs Church as an “outsider” as a former Catholic who had not wanted anything to do with church or “organized religion” for the past 5 years or so. I was a college student. I was new to this whole Christian church thing. I was overwhelmed and really confused.

“Why is there screens?”
“Does the priest here wear a robe?”
“Why are we singing so much?”

More than that I was petrified about what people would think. From an outsiders’ perspective Christianity is full of really moral, uptight and right wing people, well at least from this outsider’s perspective. I was petrified about what people would think about my life style. I was not pure. I was not home schooled. I was not Republican. I was not a straight edge kid, I had tattoos, tattoos that represented other religions, tattoos that did not in someway tell a Biblical story or have scripture included. I was usually hungover on Sundays, not singing or listening to a preacher.

What would people think...would I be welcomed or looked down on?

I think it was a kind of in between feeling after that first Sunday. I had a couple people come up to shake my hand, but I sat alone. I am naturally a shy guy, especially in new situations, so this was a totally overwhelming experience. I left the church, a bit confused by all that happened and still felt like an outsider. That feeling would remain for the next year.

It was not until someone at The Well, the new college ministry DSC had started, remembered my name did I begin to feel welcomed. That took a year. A year of Sunday attendance, a year of feeling like a round peg in a square hole.

Why did I keep coming back? Because I kept feeling this is what God wanted me to do, no other reason really.

My whole world changed though when someone remembered my name, when someone took the time to get to know me and my story. I felt part of the church. I felt welcomed. I felt love.

Could I have done more to get involved on my own? Yeah, probably, but honestly as a newcomer it was not my job to do that, nor to be honest did I know how to. It was the community of God who I was surrounded by every Sunday who needed to be the ones who reached out to me. And when that happened I felt love, the kinda love that the church is supposed to be. I just wish it had been faster than a year.

It is 6 years later. I am now on staff at Desert Springs. I am in fact the director of The Well. It is 6 years later and I often have forgotten what it is like to be a visitor, to be someone who does not know lots of people. I have forgotten what it is like to enter the building and be overwhelmed and feel unwelcomed and ignored.

I need to remember what that is like. I need to realize that it is on me as a Desert Springs member to seek out to show love and honor to guests and to all people in the church. This is not an option. This is not a “thing” to put on my to do list, this is a gospel implication type of thing.

We love, we show honor, we abhor evil because that is how we are to respond to the grace we have been given and love that has overwhelmed us from Jesus Christ. Jesus loves the unlovely (us), Jesus died to bring us into the family of God. None of us have any merit to stand on, no pedigree to flaunt over each other. We all have only the blood of Jesus to claim as our means to coming into the family to forever be with Jesus.

We are called to love like we have been loved, we are called to seek to love, to intentionally seek it out. To fail to do this is a fail of understanding the gospel.

If you are one of those who have felt unwelcomed, and unloved, take this as an apology. We are imperfect, we are messy, we will fail at this again. We forget about our mission and our calling to love others. We are in process. We are sinners saved by grace in the daily need of the blood of Jesus too.

For those of us who are members, who are “connected” and part of the family of God. May we repent of our self centered times when we seek comfort and ease over meeting someone new that may be a bit awkward. May we repent of our neglect of loving others and connecting them with the rest of our family cause we are too lazy or ignorant to do so. May we repent of our lack of love and honor to others.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Acting and Waiting On The Lord

John Piper talks about the tension between what it means to "wait on the Lord" and when it is time to take action.

For more John Piper media go to DesiringGod.Org

Friday, July 24, 2009

Resurgence: Masculinity Reclaimed

Over at Resurgence.Com they have just finished a great series about redeeming Biblical masculinity. Here is a good quote from the series.
Ladies in our churches, young and old, are not as horrified by an emphasis on reaching men as one might expect. Ultimately our women don't want to be surrounded by a crowd of wusses or a bunch of bullies. Biblical masculinity is such a rare commodity that women are usually attracted to it rather than repulsed (though this may surprise them at first).

The Restoration of So Much More

This quote goes well with yesterday's post:

“The object of the work of redemption is not limited to the salvation of individual sinners, but extends itself to the redemption of the world, and to the organic reunion of all things in heaven and on earth under Christ as their original head.

The final outcome of the future, foreshadowed in the Holy Scriptures, is not the merely spiritual existence of saved souls, but the restoration of the entire cosmos, when God will be all in all under the renewed heaven on the renewed earth.”

—Abraham Kuyper, Lectures on Calvinism (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson 2008), 105-106
Props: Of First Importance

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Something Really Worth Getting Excited About

Wolverine, Star Trek, Up!, Transformers 2 and Harry Potter are all this summer’s “blockbusters”. The question is now that all of these have come out is, how has life changed?

I remember a few years ago “Superman Returns” came out, and I was counting down the days before its release. I would watch the previews over and over again just getting more and more stoked. The movie was good, I enjoyed it, but honestly I can say even though I have it on DVD I have not watched it in a quite a few months.

I think the same can and will be said of these past summer’s movies. We don’t think about that though when they come out, do we? We are stoked, we will count the days down, we will re-watch the other movies in the series if it is a sequel, we may even read the books the movies are based on. Fast food stores will load us down with toys and commemorative glasses in high anticipation of the upcoming flick. On opening day we may even stand in line or save seats for hours on end, we will wait 12 hours to see a 2 hour movie.

I think if we are honest with ourselves we end with a bit of disappointment. Nothing is truly gained by all this anticipation and waiting, we are just left being amused for a couple hours by robots, wizards, aliens or mutants. Soon enough in fact we are thirsting and counting down for the next big movie.

We are addicts. We are in constant search for our next entertainment high. We act if not flat out think that this movie will be “awesome”, “life changing”, or at least by our actions worth spending a huge amount of time waiting for or thinking about.

In the end we are left wanting and wandering...

There is a bigger story though, that does give us reason to wait with excitement. Although this coming, does not have a countdown on it, or at least a countdown that we know. This coming will be unlike any movie, for when it comes everyone will notice and everyone will be eternally changed.

I am referring to the second coming of Jesus Christ, our great King. When He comes all of life will be transformed, wrongs will be made right. Pain will be wiped off the earth. Tears will be no more. Disease? Gone. Sin, banished. Satan, fully defeated.

The sad reality is, is that for one group, those who have put their hope in Jesus and his atoning work on the cross that day will be joyful. For the group that hasn’t it will be the day of judgment where they will be declared guilty, and because they do not have Jesus as their wrath-bearing savior, they will take on God’s full wrath for their sin.

So for those who have trusted in Jesus, movies are good to watch, but we wait for something better. For those who don’t movies really are in some ways as good as it gets.

There is still time for all who are reading this to turn and trust in Jesus. To see their sin and rebellion before a Holy God and see that Jesus took on that punishment if we would just believe and trust. To see, love and follow King Jesus!

Should You Talk About The Gospel In Every Sermon?

From John Piper and Matt Chandler:

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

N.T. Wright Discusses Blogging

N.T. Wright offers some very good and convicting comments concerning blogging and its' power to suck you in and isolate you.

I have been thinking about this recently and am still praying about what limits or fasts I need to take for my own soul's sake, I submit you do likewise.

NT Wright on Blogging/Social Media from Bill Kinnon on Vimeo.

This is NT Wright's response to my question on his opinion of blogging during Imbi Medri-Kinnon's interview shoot with the Bishop of Durham in 2007. Portions of this interview appear in her documentary, Mind the Gap - where she looks at the challenge for church leadership in the 21st Century.

Intellectual Property/Copyright: This video may be embedded on blog posts where this particular topic is being discussed. Permission is NOT given to re-edit this or use it in any other context other than as a standalone video with the MKPL bug, opening and closing.

Props: Thinklings

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Remember The Heart

Very well done video, very convicting..

Props: Holiday @ The Sea

Messy Heroes Lifting Up a Great God: George Whitefield

As fallen human beings we at times can get caught up in allowing our heroes to become larger than life and better than reality. This can especially be true of our Christian heroes. We can get caught up in putting people on pedestals and ignoring sin and flaws in them.

One of the “heroes” of the faith in Church history is George Whitefield (1714-1770). Whitefield lived during the Great Awakening in North America and preached as well in his home country England. He preached before Jonathan Edwards another of the “heroes” of the faith.

Whitefield preached before thousands of people. He did this without a mic or jumbotron. He did it outside while people openly mocked him and at times worked to distract his listeners.

Whitefield was used by God in might ways in brining many people to salvation. He was a powerfully gifted teacher. Even people who did not believe what he was preaching would even stop to listen such as Benjamin Franklin, who found it delightful to listen to him preach even though he was not a Christian in the least bit.

Whitefield refused to sugarcoat messages, he refused to hold back passion. He was so expressive that often he has been accused of acting and being fake about his emotions. Whitefield’s answer to that was to say that when he looked at actors who were passionate about fake stuff, how much more should he be passionate about real stuff, and eternally and infinetly more important things.

Whitefield though was flawed. Whitefield supported the slavery movement in America. Whitefield was a sinner saved by grace. Whitefield was messy.

Our “heroes” no matter who you name are imperfect to one degree to another. We need to take off the rose colored glasses when we approach history. We need to see that while these men are in many ways worthy of imitation, we only imitate and follow them as they follow Christ.

Ultimately we only follow Jesus. He was not messy. He had no imperfections according to God’s standards.

Let’s be real about our “heroes” so that as the book of Hebrews says we can look at the ultimate, perfect one, Jesus.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1-2 (emphasis mine)

For an amazing biography sketch of George Whitefield check out John Piper’s talk about him that he delivered at this past year’s Desiring God’s Pastor Conference. It is well worth the 90 minutes to watch or listen to.

Click Here to Watch

Click Here to Listen

For more biographies given by John Piper click here

Monday, July 20, 2009


Proverbs 29:25
The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe.

If someone were to ask me what I believe to be one of the biggest sins that we face as young adults I think the fear of man would top the list. I have found that many people live a life that is marked by an evident fear of how they are perceived or how their reputation is affected.

A good example of what I am talking about is this past Tuesday night at The Well. We spent the night at a local park where we had volleyball, soccer and basketball along with other various activities. We were all having a great time, then we gathered for a time of singing and listening to God’s Word. Here is where the atmosphere of the night changed. Instead of energy and smiles all around, now there was a sense of awkwardness that seemed to take over. We were scared to sing in public!

“What if someone heard how tone deaf I am? What if the neighbors over at the playground areas laughed at me? I better not be too loud or too expressive, that would be embarrassing.”

I am sure that went through peoples’ minds, I know it did mine. Why is that? Simple, we are afraid of what others think more than we are of what God thinks.

I mean we had the beautiful Sandia Mountains in front of us, an amazing sunset to the left of us. The Heavens were screaming “Glory!!! Glory!!!” and yet we were afraid for our friend to hear our voice. We were overcome by what others think more than what He thought and heard.

Our lives and culture are marked by this fear.

Why do we buy $40 T-Shirts with the name of the store we got it at on it?

Why do we shop at The Buckle for $100 jeans and not Wal-Mart?

Why are we afraid to tell our friends about a Holy God who they have offended, and how the ONLY way to salvation is through Jesus Christ??

We are petrified of others’ perception of us.

It is the same reason that the people of Israel wanted a king. They wanted to be like the nations around them, they wanted to fit in. They had a King, the King of Kings leading them and loving them, but they wanted something that made them blend in, something that made them fit in.

We do too.

By nature we are man-fearing creatures. This changes though in a beautiful way when we are saved. No longer are we enslaved to the views of this world or of those around us. We have had our eyes open to the beauty, Holiness and majesty of our Great God, the One, whose opinion of us really does matter. We begin to see how He sees. We see our sin and unworthiness and are brought low only to be lifted up by the news of His Son who has come.

We learn of a God who demands perfection from us, who demands us to fear Him above all else. We learn that we have failed at this miserably and deserve full punishment for this. We learn that God has taken our punishment on the cross in the person of Jesus Christ. That He rose 3 days after death and now to those who trust in His name and His work, He freely gives us His perfection and status. He puts His life on us because He took on our life and guilt on Himself.

This is grace that changes everything.

We are not perfect yet though. Like the night at The Park we will find moments that we fear man over God. Here we are called to repent (turn from that way of living and thinking) and trust in Jesus once again. We are called to fear God, love God and love each other in a way that is reckless, radical and sometimes embarrassing by the world’s standards.

I wish I could say that I have this fear of man thing whipped, I don’t. I do know though that “...he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” (Phil. 1:6). And I look forward to that day when my fear, my love, my mind and my life will be captivated fully and completely by Jesus and only Jesus, forever!

Do You Suffer from I.O.S.??

If you are reading this on Google Reader, I.O.S. may have overtaken you already...

Props: K.DeYoung

Sunday, July 19, 2009

He Hears Our Pleas, Because Of Who He Is

“For we do not present our pleas before you because of our righteousness, but because of your great mercy.” Daniel 9:18b

How often do I approach the throne of Grace in prayer with a heart that does not understand the weight of what I am doing. I am going before the King of the Universe, not a bank teller, not a Santa Claus at the mall, but how I so treat it that way. I often flippantly throw up some prayers that suggest I am talking to another man, maybe a respected man so I show some level of reverence, but not the level that should go to the King of Kings!

Just thinking through what Daniel is saying here. The reason we can come to God and not only do we not get destroyed, but he listens to us as a Father listens to a child is because of His mercy. And with our New Testament lenses on we can see that this great mercy ultimately was showcased in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, fully man and fully God, God in flesh.

We can come to our Father in Heaven and know he hears because he forsook his Son in our place. We come and do not face wrath because his Son took it for us. For Daniel it was the sacrifices of animals that shadowed a Greater Sacrifice to come.

Put simply we can come before our God, and He hears our pleas because of Jesus. We come because of His great mercy and love that shine brightly from the cross. His Mercy. His Love. His Grace.

That has to change how we think about how we pray and why we can pray and know that our pleas are heard!!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Graph Pertaining to Christian Music

Yep this sums it up...

Props:K. Roose via Twitter

Creative Stop Motion Video

Being part of the Imago Dei is the creative aspect of who we are that reflects the ultimate creator.

The PEN Story from PENStory on Vimeo.

Props: Holiday at the Sea

Friday, July 17, 2009

Man Up!

That is what Jared Wilson is saying, and I totally agree with an AMEN!!

We live in a sick culture that allows people to cheat on their wife, not just cheat, but actually had devised software to help!?!

Then turns it around so they are the victims when all the consequences come down..disgusting!

This post from Jared was so needed and I strongly encourage you fellas to listen up!!

Here is an Excerpt:
Mark Driscoll yells at men and some Christians wring their hands about it. I say "Keep it up."

According to this Time article, traffic tripled to (no, I won't hyperlink it) -- a website that helps men and women commit affairs -- the Monday after Father's Day.

What the heck?

The whiners in the article talk about things being tough in marriage.
Welcome to real life.

Kyle Joins Ives

Kyle Moore is one of our leaders at The Well as well as a good friend and brother in Christ. Kyle recently joined the band Ives. This band is a young crew of fellas who are pretty legit. Kyle is a very, very talented musician and more importantly a Godly young man.

I recommend you check these dudes out, they will be opening for “The Glorious Unseen” on August 7th at New Covenant Church here in ABQ.

You can check out Ives on Facebook Here
Or Follow them on Twitter Here
They even are on MySpace, yes Myspace is still around

For now check out this video of their practice. (Kyle is the guitarist on the far right)

Also Check out Kyle's Blog..he has great taste in music too!

Top 3 Characteristics of a Church Planter

From Acts 29:

Acts 29 church planters were surveyed on 10 qualifications of a church planter and 60 microskills. I wrote a blog that detailed these characteristics more fully.

The top three characteristics are (in order):

  1. Spiritual Vitality
  2. Strong Marriage & Family Life
  3. Theological Clarity

The top three microskills from those surveyed:

  1. He gives evidence of a personal relationship with Jesus and a transformed life. (Spiritual Vitality)
  2. He models a lifestyle of following Jesus. (Spiritual Vitality)
  3. He professes healthy sexual relationship and purity in his marriage. (Strong Marriage & Family Life)
What do you think, would you add any others?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

David Brooks on Sonia Sotomayor

New York Times Columnist has an interesting piece on what it took Sonia Sotomayor to now be on the verge of Supreme Court Confirmation.

It is also a look at her story while unique and inspiring is becoming more of a way of life for us all.

Here is an excerpt:

This isn’t the old story of a career woman trying to balance work and family. This is the story of pressures that affect men as well as women (men are just more likely to make fools of themselves in response, as the news of the last few years indicates). It’s the story of people in a meritocracy that gets more purified and competitive by the year, with the time demands growing more and more insistent.

These profiles give an authentic glimpse of a style of life that hasn’t yet been captured by a novel or a movie — the subtle blend of high-achiever successes, trade-offs and deep commitments to others. In the profiles, you see the intoxicating lure of work, which provides an organizing purpose and identity. You see the web of mentor-mentee relationships — the courtship between the young and the middle-aged, and then the tensions as the mentees break off on their own. You see the strains of a multicultural establishment, in which people try to preserve their ethnic heritage as they ascend into the ranks of the elite. You see the way people not only choose a profession, it chooses them. It changes them in a way they probably didn’t anticipate at first.

Click Here for Rest from New York Times

Monday, July 13, 2009

Amazing... Life Without Limbs but With Jesus

Want to see how the Gospel transforms people, even when circumstances never change..
Watch This:

Props: The Institute

Also Check out Rob Bell's newest Nooma video that is a good companion to this video. (All Rob Bell stuff is not good, and I do not recommend all his materiel, but this one video is legit!)

Click Here for "Whirlwind" by Rob Bell

What If I Have Tried To Believe In Jesus, But Can't??

John Piper Answers:

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Grace Interrupting Karma

"[Grace is] my favourite word in the lexicon of the English language. It's a word I'm depending on. The universe operates by Karma, we all know that. For every action there's an equal and opposite reaction. There is some atonement built in: an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. Then enters Grace and turns that upside down. I love it. I'm not talking about people being graceful in their actions but just covering over the cracks. Christ's ministry really was a lot to do with pointing out how everybody is a screw-up in some shape or form, there's no way around it. But then He was to say, well, I am going to deal with those sins for you. I will take on Myself all the consequences of sin. Even if you're not religious I think you'd accept that there are consequences to all the mistakes we make. And so Grace enters the picture to say, I'll take the blame, I'll carry the cross. It is a powerful idea. Grace interrupting Karma."

Bono, in U2 by U2, page 300.

Props: Ray Ortlund Jr.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Saturday Sabbath

Saturdays are my sabbath, my day of rest. I spend the day with this crazy crew who God has blessed me to lead and love....and it is awesome!!

Friday, July 10, 2009

How NOT to be Missional

Do I believe that ONLY through Jesus Christ can salvation come, yes! Do I believe that we must tell people the good news about Jesus Christ? Yes!

Is this the way to do it? Is this serving and dying for others so that they may taste and see how good the Lord is? NOPE!

From Cnn.Com

Being a Missional Young Family

Working at DSC that is full of young familes and having 2 (soon to be 3) kids under the age of 4 of my own, made this post good and convicting to read.

Being a young family with jobs, and kids to juggle does not mean we can hold off spreading the gospel until the kids are out of the house. The truth is if we do that, other things will become priority and we will never come back to that missional lifestyle.

Redeemer Lubbock is a great Acts 29 church in Lubbock and is wrestling with some of the same issues, here is an excerpt:
However, I must admit that there seems something that is a bit off with our cadence. That is whether or not we are really caring about the lost that are around us here in Lubbock. Without a question, we are witnessing pockets of people who are determined to be the salt and light that Jesus asks of us to be. This is most evident in some of the care being given to various international students. As well as ministry that is happening by people engaging their neighbors. Yet nearly across the board when I look at these bright spots of people living missonaly it is being done disproportionately by college students and singles. Our families, which are one of the fastest growing segments of our church, are really struggling when it comes to missional living.

I have recently read some discouraging things about young families. In “Getting Things Done” by David Allen, he lists professionals with kids under the age of ten at home as the segment that are under the highest levels of stress and the group that struggles most to get things done. Second in Patrick Lai’s book “Tentmaking” he states that families with young children make some of the least effective missionaries. These two books are saying that a huge segment of our church is likely to be more stressed and less effective than any other demographic. This is where the lazy complacent side of me says lets just hold on and be happy with our success’. I refuse to accept this. I refuse to accept that when Christ commanded us to make disciples Matthew 28:17 and to be his witness in Acts 1:8 that it was actually a qualified statement depending on stage of life. Is it harder for the young families? No question, for a ton of different reasons, it is really difficult. However, young families are quickly becoming the core of this church and patterns we set now will shape who Redeemer is 20 years from now.

Now, a person without kids, or even someone who has grown kids and doesn’t remember the craziness of having little ones around might read this article with a resounding “Amen!” and think it’s about time, but a mom or dad that just put the kids to bed and is just sitting down for a minute of quite, will read this and their heart will sink. When, in the day is there time to add more stuff? My plea is not that you add more, but that you be more intentional with your time. I ask that you don’t give up sharing the gospel. Our culture will say that our kids are our ministry. Consider ministering to your kids by showing them your love for Christ by sharing Him with those that do not know him. Some simple ways to do this would be to talk to other parents at the park, invite a non-believing neighbor to a playgroup, make a playdate with some neighbors, eat dinner with a colleague and their family. Use the things you do everyday as tools to share and include people into your families life and share Christ’s love with them. Let’s not just tell our kids to share the gospel, but by God’s grace, let us live it out before them.

Click Here to Read the Whole Thing

John Calvin is 500, And Totally Relevant For Young Adults Today!

Old dead dudes are important to read. John Calvin, Augustine, Francis Schaffer and Martin Luther are probably the 4 old dead dudes I like to read most. The reason I like to read these men so much is that after reading them I love Jesus more and am usually overwhelmed by the Glory of God.

Calvin turns 500 today. The name John Calvin make some cringe, and others gloat. For me I can at times sadly find myself doing both. I am a Calvinist, I do hold to the 5 points of Calvinism (Total Depravity, Unconditional Election, Irresistible Grace, Limited Atonement and Perseverance of the Saints), but that is not what I enjoy most about John Calvin (who did not come up with the 5 points). I also believe that the more understanding one has of the 5 points, the more humility will come.

I enjoy talking about Calvin's vision of God, a BIG, HUGE vision that I want to have. No other commentaries I have read bring me to my knees in worship like Calvin's.

Young Adults need to read John Calvin. He is hard to read. You will wrestle with the text, he will challenge your worldview and philosophies, especially if you have grown up in American Christianity. Calvin will make you think less about your story and more about God's. Calvin will challenge you to do things that require risk for the sake of the Kingdom of God. Calvin will challenge your view of what it means to be missional (yes Calvinists do missions, we in fact love missions, e.g. William Carey).

I encourage you to dive into the Institutes of Christian Religion, yes they sound boring, but they are far, far from it!

Calvin and Luther more than anyone else are men who THOUGHT deeply in order to FEEL deeply.

Some do say that too much is made of John Calvin, to that I will let the fellas of Desiring God Answer that:

As we've begun talking about John Calvin more over the last months, we've gotten several responses from folks who are concerned that we're focusing on a man at the expense of focusing on God. We appreciate this sentiment and want to be careful to not let that be the case.

Yes, we're focusing on Calvin a lot this year in commemoration of his 500th birthday, but it's not for the sake of Calvin. Being a Christian doesn't mean ignoring everything but God; it means celebrating God and each of his good gifts—whether it's a meal, a family, or a 500-year-old reformer.

If we tried to listen to God or admire God at the expense of listening to or admiring what he's given us, then we would miss out on much of what God has for us. We should be deeply thankful for what God has given us, and that means we're going to think about these gifts and talk about them.
Today the same fellas over at DG are offering the biography of Calvin for $2, reading about Calvin could be a good first step too!

Generation Me In Full Effect

Jessica Wakeman is honest. Jessica Wakeman is selfish. Jessica Wakeman is honest about being selfish.

This article is not shocking cause of its' content, it is shocking cause of the fact that it is just so blunt. This mindset of me, me, me, is what many of us in our 20's have been fed with sense kindergarten. We are the best, we are the most important, and as long as we love ourselves that is all that matters. We have been told that we are our top priority.

This mindset has led to a generation that is obsessed with individuality and consumerism "Have it my way-ism". We are spoiled and don't like to share. Sacrifice and service??? Only on our terms when we can fit it between going to the gym, level 18 of World of Warcraft and March Madness. Obviously when we do this it is not really sacrifice and service, but don't tell me that, cause I need to feel good about myself for serving and sacrificing!

Ok, rant over, kinda...

Jessica Wakeman is at least blunt about her me, me, me attitude:

Let me be clear: I respect whatever other women choose to do because I'd want them to respect what I choose to do. Kids, no kids, puppies, iguanas, I don't care what your choice is. But I do care about the kind of judgments us women make against one another. But there's something about this particular judgment that has me puzzled -- really, what's so wrong with being selfish?

1. Women should be allowed to care about pleasing ourselves-- and only ourselves -- without being judged. What is wrong with a woman being selfish? Really. Think about it for a second. Why shouldn't we be selfish if it means we're meeting our own needs and taking care of ourselves? What's wrong with caring more about bringing pleasure to your own life than anything else?

It should not be as controversial as it apparently is for women to think of themselves first if they are not hurting anyone. Reasonable people agree a woman should make herself happy, but why do these people suddenly because so unreasonable when those women say it would make her happy to just focus on herself?
Read the Rest at CNN.COM

Justin Taylor responds well here:
The battle against selfishness is difficult, and a constant need. Marriage reveals a new level of it in our hearts, and having kids ups the ante significantly. But by God's grace we can battle the sin of selfishness.
Props: JT

False Dicotomies-Christopher J.H. Wright

Over at the Zondervan blog, Koinonia, Chris Wright shares an answer he had at a conference to this question:
In what way have we as evangelical Christians failed to grasp or live out the fullness of God’s missional intent? How (if at all) has our theology of evangelism been weak?

His multi-part answer shows that Christianity if full of false dichotomies.

Click here to Check It Out. Part 1 and Part 2.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Carl Trueman on Hurt and Pain

Has someone hurt you? Are you involved in a conflict with another? Do you feel wronged and have a strong sense that you need to be proven right?

Read Reformation 21's brilliant and convicting piece from Carl Truman, if there is no repentance that comes from this, re-read it!!

Here is an Excerpt:

Expressions of hurt are too often really something else: cowardly attempts by representatives of a cosseted and self-obsessed culture to make themselves uniquely important or, worse still, to bully and cajole somebody they dislike to stop saying things they don't want to hear or which they find distasteful. My advice to such is akin to that of the counselor in the Bob Newhart sketch: Stop it! If somebody's writing or speaking hurts you, ask yourself "Why?", don't whine about the discomfort. Get a grip, get yourself some trousers, stop feeling sorry for yourself, and please, please, please, don't hide behind the aesthetic pietisms of the tiresome and clich├ęd `feel my pain while I process my hurt' posse. Have the backbone, have the decency - nay, have the honesty - to take your licks and move on, either to addressing the substance of the argument or to some area of endeavour that is, well, perhaps less painful and hurtful for you.

Jehoshaphat and the Fear of Man

Growing up we were told the dangers of peer pressure. We will end up in jail, hooked on cocaine or worse. The reality is though it is not all peer pressure we were to avoid, breaking the law, yes that is bad. Getting a good job, pursuing the American Dream, well that kind of peer pressure is ok and helpful.

Scripture does not give us that wiggle room. We either listen to man or we listen to God. Either we follow our LORD or we follow the whims of man who are depraved and enemies of God. This does not mean that we never listen to others, but that we are aware of the lure of fearing the opinion of man is more dangerous than maybe we realize.

Over at Shepherd Press's Blog they have done a 2 part series on Jehoshaphat and how the fear of man can lead us down a deceptively dangerous road.

Here is an excerpt:
One of the more remarkable examples of peer pressure or fear of man found in the Bible is the story of Jehoshaphat and King Ahab in 2 Chronicles 18. The Spirit is God was gracious to provide such a clear and vivid account of the dynamics of peer pressure. There is much you can use in the chapter to teach your children about this all too common tendency of making the opinion of others more important than the opinion of God.

I encourage you to check these 2 parts out, and then search yourself for where this sin is present right now and repent. Trust in the One who perfectly trusted and followed God, Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

They Saw A Need-And Met It

At the beginning of summer at The Well we discussed the need to not waste our lives on things of this world. We talked about how a wasted life is one that is spent chasing after comfort and safety, after the white picket fence, after the safe home and 401k plan. Through God's word we saw that life is meant to be "wasted" on glorifying God in all things, by making him look Glorious like He is in our words, actions and money.

Students from The Well have taken that call literally and are doing something they call Job 29 Ministries. It is a simple crew that takes food to the homeless and shares the gospel and love of Jesus. They did not need a committee to gather and plan or brainstorm, they just did it, cause Scripture said to do it. They did not wait for people to get behind it or others to see the need, they saw the need and they went. And God is being glorified and spread throughout Albuquerque.

Below is an excerpt on what they do and look forward to in the summer and fall:
We want this ministry to grow! Due to the irregularity of the summer, it is hard to set a specific and regular time to go out and help the poor and homeless of Albuquerque, NM. Many will be out of town frequently this summer, but our hope is to begin going on outreach trips to feed the homeless once a week when school starts. Kelsey and I (Leah) normally take care of all the preparations and then let everyone know where to be and when. However, Kelsey will be moving to Boston come fall and I will gladly accept any help. I will be having a sign-up sheet at The Well (Desert Springs Church) for those who are interested in coming on our outings, to put days and times that are regularly good for you. I will do my best to pick a day and time that will accommodate as many people as possible. Our outings take at the most 3 or 4 hours, but if you take your own transportation you are not required to stay the whole time. I can guarantee you that even though it is hard, it is definitely rewarding. We also want to expand this ministry come fall and winter. We not only want to feed those who are hungry, but we also want to provide blankets, jackets/coats/scarfs, and socks for the cold seasons. We are anticipating great things from our God who is mighty to save!

Click here to check out more from what they are calling Job 29 Ministries

If you are interested in helping email me at

Job 29:12 "I delivered the poor who cried for help, And the orphan who had no helper."

Today's Philosophers-Musicians

From Minds 2 Mentes:

For thousands of years philosophy has been shaped as people’s ideas have been articulated into language and expression. Be it through myths and stories, epics poems and plays or deeper thoughts written about the meaning of life and the universe as a whole, philosophy has been a huge definer of culture.

Where are today’s philosophers? Today’s philosophers are our musicians. No longer is philosophy confined to the ivory towers of the world. No one seems to have the will to embark on that high climb anymore. Instead it has taken a new shape, or perhaps an old shape rediscovered, in the arts. Music in particular is the mode of the today’s culture’s thoughts about life and meaning. If you want to know what people hold as valuable, look to the songs. If you want to observe someone’s deepest fears and anxieties, look to the music they listen to. If you want to view a soul bared, look to the words they put to melody. Even the way people use their bodies to perform their lyrics express their philosophies.

The question is, is today’s philosophy productive in its quest for meaning? Are any answers being found? Are any theories being formulated? Or instead of the quest for knowledge has today’s philosophy become simply the culture of the status quo. Has philosophy lost it’s love of knowledge, the very thing the word means? Has philosophy become more about what’s “normal” and “acceptable” and “what everybody’s doing” than the quest for truth?

It seems only natural that philosophy has taken this route. After all, we live in a postmodern society. Today’s postmodern philosophers are our musicians.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

John Piper: What Is God's Glory??

God's Glory, a phrase that we use endlessly, a phrase we put on bumper stickers, but do we know what we are saying???

John Piper offers a explanation of what he means by God's Glory:

Yes 2 John Piper Videos in 1 day, but they are both worth immediate viewing!

Jesus Jr.

From Ray Ortlund Jr.:
Our local deity is not Jesus. He goes by the name Jesus. But in reality, our local deity is Jesus Jr.

Our little Jesus is popular because he is useful. He makes us feel better while conveniently fitting into the margins of our busy lives. But he is not terrifying or compelling or thrilling. When we hear the gospel of Jesus Jr., our casual response is “Yeah, that’s what I believe.” Jesus Jr. does not confront us, surprise us, stun us. He looks down on us with a benign, all-approving grin. He tells us how wonderful we really are, how entitled we really are, how wounded we really are, and it feels good.

Jesus Jr. appeals to the flesh. He does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him. He is not able to understand them, much less impart them, because Jesus Jr. is the magnification of Self, the idealization of Self, the absolutization of Self turning around and validating Self, flattering Self, reinforcing Self. Jesus Jr. does not change us, because he is a projection of us.

It is time to tear down Jesus Jr. It is time to rediscover the real Jesus. Still today, even to us, his invitation stands: “Come to me” (Matthew 11:28).

John Piper on Financial Preperation

Monday, July 06, 2009

Hispanics and Christianity

Very interesting report from Ed Stetzer, especially for a Hispanic in New Mexico as I am.

Barna found many similarities with the general American public, but also points out the differences in the faith of American Hispanics. From the Barna report:

How did the two populations differ spiritually? Based on the questions asked, gaps were discovered in just a handful of areas, including:
  • Hispanics remained somewhat more likely to believe that a good person can earn his or her way into Heaven
  • Americans, overall, were significantly more likely to claim that they are "absolutely committed" to Christianity (58% vs. 46%, respectively)
  • Hispanics are twice as likely as the aggregate adult base to be aligned with the Catholic church (44% vs. 22%, respectively)
  • Americans at-large were slightly more likely to be born again Christians (46% vs. 40%), based on their theological views
There is much more at the Barna site. Read the full story here.

A Great Visual of Christian Safety From Francis Chan

What an amazing video from Francis Chan, of the look of those in the church that live for safe, comfortable lives. May this be humorous and embarrassing to watch, it was for me.

Chan's book "Crazy Love" is available on mp3 at Christian Audio for free this month. It is such a good book and well worth the price to go get it (it is well worth full price at Borders too if you want to read it).

Props: Holiday At The Sea

Friday, July 03, 2009

Mark Driscoll on The Facets of The Gospel

Mark Driscoll on the complexities and scope of the Gospel, from his phenomenal book “Death By Love”:

“Perhaps the most succinct summary of the gospel is found in 1 Corinthians 15: 1-4:

'Now I would remind you, brothers of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the world I preached to you-unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.'

Here we see that the gospel is continual, in that we must continually be reminded of it; proclamational, in that it must be preached to us often, including preaching it to ourselves; personal, in that we must personally receive it in faith; essential, in that we must continually cling to it alone for the assurance of our salvation; central, in that it is the most important truth in all the world; eternal, in that it is passed on from one generation to the next without modification by religion; Christological, in that it is about the person and work of Jesus Christ alone; penal, in that the wage for sin-death-was paid; substitutional, in that Jesus’ death on the cross was literally in our place for our sins; biblical, in that it is in agreement with and the fulfillment of all Scripture; and eschatological, in that the resurrection of Jesus reveals to us our future hope of resurrected eternal life with him.” (Mark Driscoll, “Death by Love”, pg. 91-92)

Death is Not Dying

Cancer has been on the radar in my family for over a decade as my mother has had many rounds with the disease. I can tell you from personal experience how amazing the Truth and Love of Jesus gives hope and comfort in the face of illness and even when thinking of death.

Rachel Barkey is another whose testimony is amazing and so God glorifying. If you are dealing with cancer or any type of terminal sickness (which we all are in some way or another when it comes to death) I encourage you to read this link from "Girl Talk" and then check out the site Death is Not Dying, and listen to Rachel's story.

From Girl Talk:
A friend of the family let us know that Rachel Barkey passed away yesterday morning. Please pray for her husband, Neil, and their two children and their extended families. If you have not yet watched Rachel’s video testimony of her battle with terminal cancer, we would strongly urge you to do so today.

We rejoice that Rachel is now in glory, free from pain and worshipping our Savior. For us here at girltalk, and we know, for many of you as well, she will always be a profound example of steadfast faith in Jesus Christ.

“Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.” Psalm 116:15
Click Here for Video Testimony

Thursday, July 02, 2009

A Word Against Bubble Christianity by Martin Luther

I love this quote, it strikes right at the heart of safe, comfortable, fellowship-only Christianity. It is a quote from Martin Luther which is quoted by Dietrich Bonhoeffer in his brilliant book "Life Together".

"The Kingdom is to be in the midst of your enemies. And he who will not suffer this does not want to be of the Kingdom of Christ; he wants to be among friends, to sit among roses and lilies, not with the bad people but the devout people. O you blasphemers and betrayers of Christ! If Christ had done what you are doing who would ever have been spared?" (Martin Luther)

Greater Risk, Greater Reward

Zach shares some insights from Seth Godin about the relationship between risk and reward. He also offers a great way this does impact being a Christian and how we above all else can live reckless risky lives.

Marketing guru Seth Godin has an interesting post about what he calls risk/reward confusion. He writes:
It's easy to to adopt the policy of avoiding risk at all costs, that whenever possible, the products you launch or the engagements you have should be flawless and without downside.

Here's the problem: in most endeavors, a small increase in risk can double the reward. It's the second doubling of reward that brings serious risk with it. But the first leap is relatively painless.

In the chart above, notice that going from point A to point B brings almost no incremental risk. It might feel scary, but rationally, it's not. Doubling reward again from B to C, though, brings significant incremental risk. It's this second doubling that gets you through the Dip, that leads to a breakthrough, that makes you remarkable.

But I'm not even talking about that. I'm just hoping you'll warm up by making the tiny leap of avoiding all risk. Riskless is hardly worth your effort.

Though we probably don't need to take our cues from the business world, I think this all the more should be true of Christians who should be able to take huge risks for God because we believe in a sovereign God who doesn't.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Sobering Reflection by John Piper

Hell is a reality. Hell is eternal. Hell is conscious torment and punishment. Hell is a reality.

May John Piper's reflections make us see eternity as longer than we think, and Hell as worse than we can imagine.

Crazy Love Audiobook for Free

One of the best books I have read is Francis Chan's "Crazy Love". It is one of the first books I recommend to people who want to understand more about the Gospel and its' implications on a believer's life. is for the month of July offering the Audiobook version for free. I cannot tell you how highly I recommend downloading this and listening to it.

Click Here to go download this Audiobook and also sign up for thier newsletter, as they offer a free audiobook every month and usually the books are really legit.

The Distinctiveness of God's Love

Here is a quote from D.A. Carson that I read last night at The Well. Carson is talking about the "love" found in Chapter 13 of 1 Corinthians, a passage that is being used a lot right now in the midst of wedding season.

“If I must say in few words what is distinctive about God’s love for us, it is that it is self-originating. When a young man reveals his heart with a passionate declaration, “I love you!” at least in part he means that he finds the woman he loves lovely. At least some of his love is elicited by the object of that love. But God loves what is unlovely. If as John 3:16 tells us, God loves the world, it is not because the world is so lovely God cannot help himself: judging by John’s use of the term world, God loves the world only because of what he is. And derivatively, that is how Christians learn to love: they learn to love with love that is, like God’s, self-originating. Of course, unlike God’s love, ours is not absolutely self-originating; but it is self-originating in the sense that God’s grace so transforms the believer that his or her responses of love emerge out of the matrix of Christian character, and are correspondingly less dependent on the loveliness of the object.” (D.A. Carson, “Showing The Spirit”, pg. 65)