Monday, June 30, 2008

When We Notice The Dirt...

“I know all about the despair of overcoming chronic temptations. It is not serious provided self-offended petulance, annoyance at breaking records, impatience et cetera doesn’t get the upper hand. No amount of falls will really undo us if we keep on picking ourselves up each time. We shall of course be very muddy and tattered children by the time we reach home. But the bathrooms are all ready, the towels put out, and the clean clothes are in the airing cupboard. The only fatal thing is to lose one’s temper and give it up. It is when we notice the dirt that God is most present to us: it is the very sign of his presence.”

- C.S. Lewis, in a letter to Mary Neylan, January 20, 1942

Hat Tip: C.S. Lewis on Overcoming Temptation « Kingdom People

Revivals: God in the Midst of the Junk

Quotes below are excerpts form a very good post at Revival Blog entitled We Can All Use A Little Sharpening. From what I know, and based on what I have heard from folks who have been there, this sounds about right to me. The Spirit is moving, and God is there, but in the midst of some junk.
I support Lakeland. I believe God is in it. But that does not mean that everything that is proclaimed from the pulpit is rhema word. There have been a number of predictions that were flatly wrong. Those of us in prophetic ministry know that people miss it. Mature prophets will admit that there was some sort of error and try to seek how they got it wrong, or at least use it as a teaching point to show that no one person has cornered the market in hearing from God.......

In truth, there is a fair amount of goofiness happening in Lakeland. From decrees and mantles to predictions and prophesies that are really not more than words. I know some are scared to recognize this for fear it will give “them” ammo, but I always tell my disciples that in a time of turmoil stand and speak the truth and let the chips fall where they may. Jesus is alive......

The fact of the matter is that since the earliest recorded history, when God does something, it stirs up all kinds of dust and that usually clouds people’s vision. Wherever you stand on Lakeland, don’t miss what God is doing. He is probably uncovering more than what you see at first light.
The whole article is well worth reading. Keep praying for true revival that glorifies Jesus to sweep the land - and "while on others you are calling, do not pass me by!"

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Jesus is Depth

Justin at The Gospel-Driven Church says Jesus is Depth:
That doesn't sound deep, I know. We think deep is systematic theology or detailed doctrinal study or digging into Hebrew and Greek etymology or whatever. And all that stuff is cool. But it's not deep. It's not going deep. It's for smart people and for people who want to be smart, sure. But the kingdom is for all kinds of people, not just intellectuals, and everybody gets to press on to maturity, and maturity is going further and further into and closer and closer toward Jesus.
My pastor frequently jokes "when in doubt, the answer is Jesus." Joking aside, the statement is still true. Oh the depths of the wisdom of God found in the cross of Christ!

Miracle Reports from the UK

What an amazing report from Peter Kirk's website "Gentile Wisdom": The blind see and the dead are raised - here in the UK!
Richard Steel reports on a blind man receiving his sight, on the streets of Dudley, England, this morning. This includes a video interview with the man.

Thanks also to my commenter Rhea for the link to a report of many healings in Belfast, Northern Ireland, where there seems to be a similar outpouring to the Dudley one. The report includes a young man being raised from the dead. Where does this report come from? The BBC website!

Yes, the outpourings in Dudley and Belfast are both linked to Todd Bentley.
Follow the link above to Peter's site, where you can find the links to his sources.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Multicultural Jesus

According to Michael Spencer, Jesus says Cross the Line:
The Galilee of Jesus’ day was a multicultural place. To function in his world, Jesus was constantly confronted with the need to deal with other cultures, other languages, other customs and comfort zones. Into this world, the Pharisees, zealots and Essenes had put forward their own options for dealing with those who were different. Those options ranged from asserting a new encyclopedia of rules, declaring “clean and unclean” zones/persons, withdrawing into subculture ghettos of their own and declaring those who were different worthy of violent response.

As a result, some of the most controversial and incarnationally revealing things Jesus did were simply actions of eating with sinners, touching lepers, speaking to women, walking through communities and taking a public stand against the religious ghetto-think of his time......

If there is anything more important than this in the current situation, I don’t know what it would be. Look at the difference between Jesus and other religious leaders on just this one issue, and then wonder how Christians have come to be some of the most ghetto ensconced, subculture defending, behind-the-walls-of-the-sanctuary people on the planet.

Did Paul Do It This Way?

To Be Cool or Just Be You

From the blog of my friend ( and church planter) Duke Lancaster at Thoughts and Musings
My point is, don't try so hard to be post-modern... or to be cool. Just do what you do the way you do it... do what God told you to do... and nothing more... and nothing less. There is room in the culture for the way you were made...

Culture always has a front edge and a back edge and there are people at every point in between. And they all need Jesus. You do not have to force yourself into a poorly fitting mold to be relevant... just serve the people that are drawn to you and the culture of the church will take care of itself. GOD will present her...
Glad to see you're back to blogging again, Brother!

Friday, June 27, 2008


My son and I really enjoy watching the show "Mythbusters" on the Discovery Channel - especially when they blow stuff up. Here's a link to the results of each episode- find out what myths were confirmed and which were busted. Here's a link to Episode 100 - The MacGuyver Special. Cool!

Hat Tip: Jonah Goldberg at The Corner

Marriage Books

The 9 Marks E-Journal has an article up reviewing and comparing Christian marriage books.
Which book do you use for pre-marital counseling? Which for married couples with problems? What's the best all around book on marriage? Questions like these prompted us to devise the Marriage Book Comparison Chart, which includes both a rating comparison chart and a brief review for thirty books on marriage.

Hat Tips to: Take Your Vitamin Z: Marriage Books Breakdown and Between Two Worlds

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Faith is Nothing, But God is Everything!

Ever tried to "work up" faith. I can remember times when I struggled to "just believe" enough, thinking that if I just tried hard enough to "really believe," God would give me what I wanted from Him. I now know that my entire focus was wrong. Check this out from In the Clearing, quoting Matt Jenson on Faith is Nothing
If one were to ask Luther how she ought judge her faith, he would flatly reply that she should do no such thing, instead looking to the one judged in her place. Rather than getting caught up in diagnostics of faith (note the clinical expertise with which we can say ‘you don’t have enough faith!’), Luther would have us simply re-direct our attention to the object of faith, Jesus. Jesus is the mirror in which, by faith, we see ourselves, those women and men dead and raised to new life by the power of the Spirit.
He's right, of course (both Luther and Jenson). The power of faith is not in the size of the faith but the size of its object. A small faith in a big God does great things. And the God of the Bible is "large and in charge"! If you want to have greater faith, concentrate your attention and focus on the great Lord Jesus Christ rather than the size and strength of your faith.

5 Points To Stand Behind…

In a post called 5 points I’ll stand behind the Heat & Light Blog has restated the classic Five Points of the Reformed Faith (TULIP) as follows:
1. We’re so messed up that we need a miracle to restore our broken fellowship with God.
2. God chooses us, not based on what He knew that we would do, but simply out of love.
3. Christ gave Himself for the church.
4. When the light of the gospel fully shines in our hearts, we find God’s love to be irresistible.
5. Those who truly belong to Christ are able to stand strong only by the grace of God.
He also quotes John Piper's restatement of the five points "as we subjectively experience them":
1. We experience first our depravity and need of salvation.
2. Then we experience the irresistible grace of God leading us toward faith.
3. Then we trust the sufficiency of the atoning death of Christ for our sins.
4. Then we discover that behind the work of God to atone for our sins and bring us to faith was the unconditional election of God.
5. And finally we rest in his electing grace to give us the strength and will to persevere to the end in faith.
I've got no problem with the classic five points, but also like these alternative versions. What do you think?

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

What If ‘Azusa Street’ Started Today?

Love this from Michael Davis at the Charismatica Blog : Revival What Ifs: What If ‘Azusa Street’ Started Today? It's worth quoting the whole thing:

…..If Azusa Street started today:

1. The LA Fire Dept. would shut down the meetings. Too many folks stuffed in a dangerous wooden barn.

2. OSHA would come by and fine the church for lack of disability ramps, restrooms, and parking.

3. The neighbors would complain because of all the noise and traffic caused by the gatherings. Plus those all night services must stop.

4. The Mayor would order the church banished from the city: " After all, we already have enough churches and not one of them help with the city budget. Besides churches are all suppose to meet at schools or in industrial parks outside the city limits, accept for the old ones which were built by ‘real’ denominations 50 years ago. Also, WalMart was interested in that property and we are just going to have to condemn it anyway."

5. According to the ‘Biblical Answer Man’s’ chief cult headhunter: " The last ones we know of who spoke in tongues were Joseph Smith and Brigham Young of the Mormons in 1835".

6. Fundamentalist Bible teacher, Dr. Cliff proclaims on the radio that "Tongues and all those gifts ceased when the ‘perfect’ Bible came– I Cor.13 proves it!"

7. Google ‘Azusa Street revival’ and you would get 2 pages of critical articles from folks who haven’t been there with theological reasons and expose’s of why it can’t be from God. Then this is followed by 10 folks who claim they went to a service at Azusa Street "with an open mind, but…".

8. RelTV would probably refuse to televise the meetings because…" Pastor Seymour is a horrible speaker and the music is terrible!"

…..If Azusa Street started today!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Revival Preconceptions and Expectations

More wise observations form CHARISMATICA » Revival Issues: Preconceptions and Expectations
We have to remind ourselves that whatever is happening at Lakeland, it is just at the beginning. I wonder how past revivals would have survived the onslaught and glare of 24 hour TV and Internet. What did Wales and Azusa Street look like after a month and a half into it?

So many of us have read about past revivals and expect God to do the same thing again. We forget that each sovereign move was new and strange for those who experienced them at the time...

Myself, I am looking for a revival that sweeps across all of North America and effects 1000’s of churches in hundreds of places. A revival that crosses all the man-made divisions and denominations. Then like a tidal wave engulfs the UK and washes up on the shores of France and Northwestern Europe. A revival coming soon near you. So many are looking for Jesus to come for his church, I’m looking for him to come to it.

Pastor Bloggin Tips.

I recently read Ten Tips for Pastors who blog from Mark Batterson at Mark pastors National Community Church in Washington, DC. I like this one:
Life is too short and the Kingdom Cause is too important for the sideways energy of negativity! In my opinion, too many blogs try to stir up controversy. And it's almost always someone who has a very small readership. A blog is not a license to go negative or take potshots.
I have a very small readership (if any) but I certainly will not choose negativity as a way to get readers. Having a blog is not the same as being influential. Being influential comes from having something to say, and saying it well- whether in a blog, a sermon, a book or face to face. Mayber I'll get there someday, bu in the mean time the journey is enjoyable!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Call to Prayer

"So let’s recognize these ‘signs of the times’ – from Lakeland, Florida to South West China – and let’s respond with an explosion of new prayer rooms, prayer vigils, nights of prayer and special prayer meetings. Let’s get ready for the supernatural answers to prayer which surely await us ‘if’ (and only ‘if’) we will humble ourselves and seek God’s face for the healing of the land and the forgiveness of sin. I solemnly believe that we are being called to partner with the Lord Jesus Christ in the awesome responsibility of shaping world events through this time of travail."

Peter Greig

Hat Tip: Tall Skinny Kiwi

More Lakeland Stuff

There are several new Lakeland Renewal Links at CHARISMATICA, including a link to Todd Bentley's defense of his ministry. I was especially interested in the link to the 55 page paper by Dr. Gary Greig on "A Theological Response to Criticism of the Lakeland Outpouring and Todd Bentley- Biblical Reasons To Receive God’s Glory and Give it Away in Power Evangelism" and the summary of that paper by Peter Kirk. Peter Kirk also has a summary of the Todd Bentley article here.

Everybody needs to keep both an open mind and good discernment filters, and keep on praying!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Something to Think About

"Sola Scriptura" & Tradition

For all you Theology Geeks out there (it takes one to know one) there's a great series at Parchment & Pen by C. Michael Patton on the relationship between Scripture and Tradition - In Defense of Sola Scriptura - Part One. His description and comparison of the Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant positions on the relationship between the two, with accompanying charts, is especially helpful.

I look forward to Part 2.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Church Plant Stories

My good friends Duke and Marie Lancaster moved from Mississippi to California last March to begin a new church plant in the San Diego area. They just celebrated their first baptisms -don't they all look full of joy! That's Duke on the right and my friend Chris Self on the left. You go, Guys!

More great stories about the new South Bay Vineyard can be found at Duke's blog site here.

Spurgeon on Spurious Revival!

“Every attempt at revival of religion which proves a failure,—and fail it must without the presence of God,—leaves the Church in a worse condition than it was before; because, if it should prove a failure, from the want of any stir at all; then God’s people fall back into their former lethargy, with an excuse for continuing in it; or if a false stir be made, a reaction follows of a most injurious character. I suppose the worst time in the Christian Church is generally that which follows the excitement of a revival; and if that revival has had no reality in it, the mischief which is done is awful and incalulable. If no excitement shall come at all, the mischief is still as great; God’s people, being disappointed, have little heart to listen to further exhortations to future zealous action, become contented with their Laodicean lukewarmness, and it becomes impossible to bestir them again. If a revival should apparently have success and yet God be not in it, perhaps this is even worse. The wild-fire and madness of some revivals have been a perfect disgrace to the common sense of the age, let alone the spirituality of the Church.”

—C. H. Spurgeon (1834-1892

Hat Tip to Peter Cockrell - Spurgeon on Spurious Revival! « Already Not Yet

Prayers & Current Events

For as long as I can remember, I have had a habit of offering quick prayers whenever I see/hear an ambulance, fire truck, or police car rushing past with sirens blaring. Nothing substantial or long, just a quick request for God to be with the emergency workers, protect them, and for those in danger and their loved ones to be drawn to the Lord in their crisis time. When I'm browsing the newspaper and pass the obituaries, I usually say a quick prayer that the families of the deceased be comforted, that they turn to the Lord in their grief and that God will be glorified by people turning to him and finding salvation. Sometimes I wonder if these little prayers may be the most significant things I do every day.

Saw an article Thursday at Prison Fellowship's blog, "The Point," about praying over news stories. The news can be depressing, and many Christians despair for our nation as Biblical truth is rejected and morals continue to decline. Let's all make a concerted effort to turn watching the news, and observing the situations around us, into opportunities for prayer and intercession, rather than despair.

The article can be found at The Point Newsworthy Prayers.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Atonement and Kingdom - Together Always!

Are the message of the Substitutionary Atonement of Christ and the message of the Kingdom of God in conflict? Trevin Wax discusses some current controversies regarding this on the Kingdom People blog at The Gospel of God: Personal Atonement or Christ’s Kingdom? « Kingdom People.
The question has become quite heated in recent days. Evangelicals are dividing into different camps, largely depending on what they emphasize as the vital part of the gospel message...

On the other hand, there are pastors and scholars who are publicly resisting the idea that we need to increase our view of the gospel. A major evangelical leader at a recent conference asked the question: ”Is our gospel too big?” He listed what he sees as the dangers of confusing the gospel’s implications with the gospel itself.

It seems that two opposing camps are forming. The first camp believes we have truncated the gospel by only focusing on individual salvation at the expense of the cosmic dimension of Jesus’ lordship. Furthermore, by neglecting the biblical teaching about the coming Kingdom of God, some worry that we have embraced a gospel that is so heaven-centered as to render it ineffective to speak to earthly realities.

The second camp fears that historic evangelicalism is rapidly being replaced by a resurgent “social gospel.” Alarmed at the growing number of self-professing evangelicals who are rejecting or diminishing the penal substitutionary model of the atonement or downplaying the necessity of personal faith in the finished work of Christ, these pastors and scholars choose to reaffirm their commitment to personal salvation through Christ’s atoning death. They worry that cutting out penal substitution and neglecting the importance of individual salvation will leave us with a new form of liberalism whose gospel is powerless.
Hey, the Book of Acts ends with Paul "proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ " (Acts 28:31). The messages of the Cross and the Kingdom belong together, and must be kept together. What God has joined together let not theological arguments put asunder!

Trevin Wax concludes :

Too many speakers in both of the gospel camps have decided that the emphases of the other camp are unimportant. Instead, we need to hear the cautions from both sides. It is true that we cannot dismiss the substitutionary atonement and the importance of individual repentance without fatally wounding the gospel. Yet at the same time, we cannot dismiss the kingdom-centered nature of the gospel of Jesus and Paul and the public nature of the announcement that Jesus is Lord without reducing the gospel to a matter of private spirituality.

We should not be satisfied in either the kingdom camp or the atonement camp. Perhaps we can all be happy campers if we join with others in proclaiming a “both-and” gospel instead of an “either-or.”

Amen, brother! See my earlier posts here, here and here.

Seven Reasons To Study Church History

I've been a fan and proponent of the study of church history most of my life- even taught a class in the subject 26 years ago. Therefore, I was glad to see this post at Tim Challies' blog, Seven Reasons To Study the Church's Past. Tim Says:
As I’ve read about the first-century church, I’ve been struck by the blessedness of living in this generation—our generation. As I study the very early Christians I begin to see again just what a legacy we have as Christ followers. The faith as we know it today was not simply handed to us, but was painstakingly developed over hundreds and thousands of years. The Scriptures have been closely studied through all of those years and the general pattern has been incremental steps forward and often large steps backward. Sometimes God sees fit to allow the church to take a giant step forward, as in the days of the Reformation, but more often the church has slowly and deliberately developed doctrine that accords to Scripture. Today we have unprecedented access to the Scripture and to resources dealing with the Bible. For this we ought to be profoundly grateful.
The seven reasons to study church history Tim presents are:
  1. God Tells Us To
  2. To Understand Today
  3. To Understand Tomorrow
  4. To Understand Providence
  5. To Understand Error
  6. To Understand People
  7. To Understand Endurance
Every believer should have at least some knowledge of the history of the church. Irenaeus, Augustine, Athanasius, Boniface, Benedict, Francis, Hus, Wycliffe, Luther, Wesley and Spurgeon are part of the heritage of us all. Let's get better acquainted!

Speaking of Christian History, Ben Witherington has been traveling in Turkey and posting some great pictures of early Christian sites. Wednesday he had photos of the Church of St. Nicholas at Pirene here. Earlier he posted lovely pictures of Nicea, site of the first great Ecumenical Council in 325 AD.

Update: See Article at The Christian Century on the abysmal ignorance of church history among American Christians.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

A Friend in Low Places

I like this story from In the Clearing: I believe in a lower power!
A kid with a clipboard and pencil came up to me on the street yesterday, and politely asked me, "Do you believe in a higher power?"

I answered yes and he thanked me and moved on, but what I really wish I'd said was, "Well, it depends on what you mean by higher."

But I don't suppose he had a category for that answer on his clipboard. I saw columns of checkmarks there, one I suppose for answers in the affirmative, another for answers in the negative, and perhaps another for the how-should-I-know types. But no column, I'm sure, for wiseguys who can't give a straight answer.

"Because," (and this is what I wish I'd said), "I believe in a lower power."

I imagine my young interlocutor tilting his head like an eager-to-understand beagle and saying, "You mean, like, the devil or something?"

"No, young man, I most decidedly do not mean the devil," say I, really grooving on the wise elder role (this is how I imagine it), "I mean that I believe in a higher power that made himself lower. Lowest, in fact, of all. The scum of the earth, you might say. And all by his own free choice, if you can imagine that."

I didn't say any of that. I just thought it afterward. And in my mind I see the young man say, "Why would he . . . ummm, or she . . . or whatever . . . do such a thing?"

That's when I put my arm around him and say, "Let me tell you a story . . . "
With apologies to Garth Brooks, It is good to have a Friend in Low Places!

Assemblies of God statement on Revival

Excerpt from a statement by the Assemblies of God regarding recent revival movements:
Someone has said that revivals are like child birth. They are messy, but you like the final result. Certainly, every revival has been marked by some elements that would be regarded as extreme. Dr. J. Edwin Orr, who studied and wrote more on the history of revivals than any one else in Christian history, told me once that revivals are like a cabin on the Maine coast that has been shuttered up for the winter. When the winds begin to blow, the first thing that begins to make noise is all the loose hinges and shutters. And, that may well be the case - so we must be cautious at the initial onset of a revival to let some "loose hinges and shutters" have their freedom - but, ultimately, if the revival is to have enduring fruitfulness, it must be pastored carefully with doctrinal soundness, moral and financial accountability, and care to give publicity to Christ rather than to the revival.

Hat Tip to : Recent Assemblies of God statement on Revival… « Heat and Light

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

I Recommend: Theological Word of the Day

Interested in improving your theological knowledge? Want to learn some new vocabulary?

Check out the Theological Word of the Day Learn some new words and terms like "Natural Revelation," "Epistemology," "Ontology," etc. Learn about great events and people in the history and development of Christian Theology, such as the "Council of Chalcedon,"or "John Wycliffe." All of the above and so much more is presented in short daily entries that someone without a seminary education can understand.

Words matter! Let's all learn some new ones.

Monday, June 16, 2008

No More Blogging Today

I'll be traveling the next couple of days, so no blog posting or comments moderation. Thanks for stopping by!

Can Ministry Become Idolatry?

Darryl Dash has written a timely and warning on the danger of making ministry and/or position into an idol. See Darryl's Blog: When Ministry Becomes Idolatry
Someone's defined ungodliness as "finding fulfillment outside of God, which leads me to commit endless sins of the heart." Sin is not always the pursuit of bad things; it's inordinate affection for good things.

As I've been thinking about pastoral envy, I've come to realize how easy it is to find meaning and fulfillment in pastoring and the church. This means that ministry can become an idol. When it's going well, then I feel good about myself. When it's not going well, my identity is crushed. Pastoral ministry can become an idol and take the place of God.

Spurgeon used to say that we shouldn't save souls to save our own soul. That doesn't make sense until you realize that it's possible to engage in ministry not for the glory of God and the good of others, but to fill some hole in our heart. I've heard Tim Keller talk about reading Romans 1:17, "The righteous shall live by faith," realizing that he had been seeking his own justification not through faith in Christ's work, but through his preaching. He was being his own functional Savior. We often make the same mistake, finding our self-worth in our ministries rather than Christ.

The only way to prevent ministry from becoming an idol is to find our identity in Jesus rather than in the church.
This post and the one I linked to on Saturday about "Significance" has got me really thinking.

See also Rick Ianniello's response to this post and topic.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Fathers Day

Happy Fathers Day to my Dad, my brother, my brothers-in-law, and to all you dads out there - the pioneers showing the way for the next generation!

To borrow a phrase, if I was half the man my Dad is, I'd be twice the man I am.

Spirituality: Scholarship Applied to the Heart

Jonathan Leeman at Church Matters: The 9Marks Blog writes about and reveals something i had not known about one of my Theological mentors, George Eldon Ladd. Dr. Ladd's writings helped form my understanding of Jesus' teaching about the Kingdom of God, from the time I first read him 30 years ago in college to my recent reading of his A Theology of the New Testament.

A new biography of Ladd by John D'Elia reveals that Ladd, in the words of Leeman, sank "into depression and alcoholism because he could not gain the mainstream academy’s approval." How sad! What a warning to all of us that Biblical and Theological knowledge does not, in and of itself, exempt us from the possibility of sinful and self destructive behaviors. Leeman writes:
What a tragedy—to know God’s freeing truth in Christ in your scholarship so well, but to fail to apply that freedom to you own heart!
Leeman goes on to challenge all Seminary professors, that one of them needs to write a book for theological students on the dangers of seeking academic approval over Christian spirituality.
In your booklet, tell them that, as scholars and pastors, we should seek eternal credentials and accolades, not temporal ones. Tell them that the mystique of the academy is a trap and a lie.

Remind them that Elijah never sent Elisha off to the Assyrian academies, and Paul presumably never considered funding Timothy through the schools of Athens, in order to fit such men for the ministry. The thought is unimaginable. No, remind them that the scholarship they will do should only seek to clarify further a message that’s considered foolish and a stumbling block. If they intend to follow their Savior, their path is persecution, not praise. So challenge them to join you in suffering for the gospel, like Paul explicitly challenged Timothy.

Suggest to them that if, by God’s strange providence, one of them finds himself training in an institution which happens to garner worldly respectability, like Daniel and the three Hebrew boys in the palaces and academies of Babylon, that they would do well to abstain from eating at the king’s table and cozying up to the king’s banter. It’s a danger zone; it’s enemy territory; so keep praying in the direction of the Holy City.

Encourage them to ground themselves in the ministry of the local church. There’s nothing like the challenges of living and ministering together with fellow sinners in “real life” to bring the Bible’s claims into life-or-death reality. Also, you might encourage them to place themselves beneath a pastor or professor who demonstrates an indifference to the praise of people, the kind of man of whom the world is not worthy. How often does it seem like the young man who wanders off, enticed by the guild’s adulterous call to lie down in her Ivy perfumed sheets, is the pitiable one who has never been loved and nurtured by an older, wiser shepherd.

Brothers, will one of you write this booklet? Consider the possibility that it might be used to save a sheep from wandering off into a ravine and, what’s more, bring a whole flock with him. I’m tired of hearing those stories. Every one grieves my heart. Indeed, I know the temptations to hear the praise of men myself. That’s why we need one of you to write such a booklet, one that will remind us all with the words of Luther, “There are two days on my calendar, today and that day."
Amen. I'd read it. God help me to live it.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

More Weekend Fun Stuff

If you don't get it, you are culturally deprived!

Weekend Fun Stuff


This post from Truth Seekers will have me thinking for a long time.
Would you rather be useful or significant? God created all things to be useful. Only God has significance. We learned this in philosophy class at the seminary.

A chair does not have significance. It signifies that it is useful for something. No created thing has significance. Only God does. When man wants to be significant instead of useful, he makes him self a god. “God knows that when you eat of the tree you will be like God.” Marlon Brando said, “I could’a been somebody. I could’a been a contendah.” He wanted to be significant… like God.

There are many aspects of life and many aspects to the body of Christ. Some are ears, some are hands, some are feet, etc. The ear cannot say to the foot, “You should be like me.” That is absolutizing one aspect of the body. When man wants to be significant instead of useful, he tends to absolutize his particular aspect of life.
Lord, I want to be useful. I am willing to be insignificant. Thy will be done.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Taking Love to the Hateful

For a fascinating read, check out this report by Josh Buice on Why I Witnessed To Westboro ‘Baptist’

Westboro is the hateful "church" that protests at the funerals of soldiers who perish in Iraq, stating that God hates the USA. Apparently they also protested at the Southern Baptist Convention this week proclaiming that, in their opinion, God also hates Southern Baptists! Josh, a Baptist pastor, felt led by the Holy Spirit to go tell the Westboro haters that God loves them. Follow the link above to read the results.

Hat Tip: Tim Challies

More Lakeland Stuff

Heat and Light has new links to various first hand stories from Lakeland - some positive, some negative, some open but concerned. He says:
Still more people are chiming in on Lakeland & the goings on there. Again, I don’t agree with all that’s written below - in fact, some I disagree with, but they are helpful perspectives to get a bigger picture of what’s happening...
Adrian Warnock has a story from a friend of his about a "remarkable healing" that occurred as a result of watching the Lakeland Renewal on TV.

Keep praying!

Kingdom Rhythms

The Gospel-Driven Church has a great post about the "rhythms" of discipleship and following Jesus. Some excerpts below, but you really should read the whole thing.
...I came up with a list of what I called "kingdom rhythms," things that should characterize our life of discipleship to Jesus, and looking at the kingdom of God as a countercultural way to live, these kingdom rhythms actively subvert the world's rhythms that too often hold sway over us. We begin by acknowledging that our day does not belong to us; it belongs to God. And that truth alone should transform the rhythms we move to.

Here are the 5 rhythms of the kingdom:

1. Intentional Prayer...
2. Devotional Scripture Reading...
3. Joyful Fasting...
4. Generosity and Service...
5. Christian Community...

None of the above rhythms can be sustained independently. The gospel supposed reconciliation between creatures. We need each other, and the Church is God's design for discipleship. The Christian life must be walked within the encouragement, edification, and accountability of Christian community. We need teachers to teach us how to do it, encouragers to inspire and sustain us, givers to remind us to give, helpers to help us embrace servitude, etc. To "put on Christ" necessitates embracing the Body of Christ as God's plan for the Christian life. Embracing kingdom rhythms becomes easier and more sustainable when it is done collectively.
Lord, help me to get some rhythm!

Ten Things to Remember

From Mars Hill Church's The Mission & Vision, Ten things for Christian leaders to remember, according to 1 Peter 5:1-11:
1. Jesus is the Chief Shepherd.
2. Leaders are entrusted to shepherd the flock.
3. Leaders lead by example, willing and eager.
4. Don’t expect a lot of accolades in this life.
5. Model godly submission.
6. The humble will rise; the proud will fall.
7. The enemy is seeking leaders to devour.
8. Expect some suffering and difficulty.
9. God restores, confirms, strengthens, and establishes you in Jesus.
10. All glory and dominion belong to God.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Why Don't We Read Our Bibles?

Reasons why we don't read our Bibles from Jared Wilson at The Gospel-Driven Church

1. We don't understand it.
2. There's nobody explaining it to us.
3. Scripture is being touted less and less as central to the Christian life.
4. It is wielded as a weapon against people.
5. The Bible says things we don't like.
6. "Experts" have eroded our confidence in Scripture.
7. We are undisciplined and lazy.

I say "All of the above," but especially #7!

Swim Against the Tide

“A dead thing can go with the stream, but only a living thing can go against it.”
- G. K. Chesterton, The Everlasting Man

Hat Tip : The Anchoress

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Pastor's Lakeland Testimony and Comments

My pastor, Bruce Wimberley, visited Lakeland Florida this past Wednesday and Thursday to experience the Renewal meetings. Also with him was another member of our church named Jeff. Summarized below are some of Bruce's comments as presented to our church congregation last Sunday.

The hallmark of the meetings and the renewal in general is not healing (although they certainly occur) but the presence of God. Attendees are hungry and thirsty for God, and the Lord is responding to that fervor with His presence.

During the meeting Bruce and Jeff prayed for a man seated near them who had a sore and partially imoveable shoulder. After prayer, the man began freely moving his shoulder and reported no pain.

The leaders of the renewal are training people to go out on the streets to evangelize and to pray for sick and hurting people. This is different from both Toronto and Brownsville- and a welcome change.

The leaders are actively trying to verify testimonies of healings. The first night they were there a phoned in testimony of someone being raised from the dead was publicly reported from the platform. The next night this report was publicly retracted after fact-checkers reported that it was not true. In fact, they discovered that someone who was opposed to the revival had called in a fake report in and effort to discredit the revival as phony. This action by the leaders demonstrates integrity that is (sorrowfully) frequently lacking in leaders of large movements like this.

The leaders of the meetings know that there are and will be tares among the wheat, that some people seeking attention will fake things, and that everything that happens cannot be attributed to the Holy Spirit. They are making efforts to discern and guide the meetings with integrity.

Bruce does not agree with some of the stylistic actions and/or ministry model of Todd Bentley, but nevertheless believes God is at work in these meetings due to the hunger of those attending.

See my previous post here.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Good Book Alert

The "In the Clearing" blog has a recommendation for Don Williams' book Start Here: Kingdom Essentials for Christians. I read this book over a year ago and would like to add my endorsement. There aren't too many books on basic Christian doctrine and experience that have a Kingdom of God focus as this one does. This is a great book to use as part of a new believers or church membership class.

See :In the Clearing: Good Book Alert: Start Here, by Don Williams

Another good book for new believers with a similar approach to that of William's book is Passport: A Believer's Guide to the Kingdom of God, by Tim Davidson, a Canadian Vineyard pastor. His book is available through Vineyard Music.

Don Williams web site is Kingdom Rain.

Lakeland Testimony

The testimony below comes from a friend of mine who attended the Lakeland Renewal meetings last week. I am quoting her words (with permission) from an e-mail circulating on our church's prayer chain. the only thing I have changed is to remove the names of the author and her family.

"The Lakeland, FL Healing Revival continues to be broadcasted live every night on GODTV to millions of people all over the earth. As a result revival is breaking out in countries and cities everywhere. Thousands are being saved, healed and now there are 19 reported raisings from the dead!!! GOD IS AWESOME AND WORTHY OF PRAISE. {We} went this past weekend with my sister and her husband and my friend. I can not begin to describe the personal experience of being in a tent of 8,000 people praising and worshiping God. God truly inhabits the praises of His people. We watched as people came to the stage testifying of how God touched them right there in the service. The miracles were astounding!!!

One of the nights, {We} got to pray with a women seated behind us. Her name was Marci. Marci was in a wheelchair and wearing a brace that was supporting her spinal column because the cancerous tumors weren't responding to treatment. Not only did she have the tumor on her spine but one was growing on her stomach. I actually felt the tumor and it WAS about the size of a grapefruit. As we begin to pray she described feeling a warmth and tingling going all over her body. Within a few minutes the tumors were completely GONE!!!!! Marci took off her brace and stood to the floor A FREE WOMAN. We cried - we hugged and we celebrated HIS goodness together.

This is what I have longed for all my life. HIS word is TRUE. HE IS ALIVE and I am compelled to SHOW the world the good news of JESUS CHRIST. My passion and hunger for Him continues to grow.. .."

Let me emphasize again, that the above is not one of those "know someone, who knows someone, whose third cousin said they heard about" kind of stories. These are the words of a faithful Christian lady I know, whose family I know, who attends our church and with whom I spoke this past Sunday. I heard her give this testimony in her own words.

May God receive all the glory for what he has done.

Do It Again

"A child kicks his legs rhythmically through excess, not absence, of life. Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, “Do it again”; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, “Do it again” to the sun; and every evening, “Do it again” to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we."

G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy, Chapter 4

Hat Tip: The Shepherd's Scrapbook

Monday, June 9, 2008

Tim Keller on Effective Ministry

Adrian Warnock has provided a helpful summary of Tim Keller's message at The Gospel Coalition - Read it all at Tim Keller on Effective Ministry. He also provides a link to the video at The Resurgence website.

If you are not familiar with Tim Keller, he pastors Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan, New York City. Leading a church with over 6,000 attendees in very secular New York City, along with his wider church planting ministry, gives him a large amount of credibility - "street cred" so to speak. Since I am reading Keller's book The Reason for God (and enjoying it) I intend to listen to this message. Here's some highlights from Adrian's summary:
Early on Keller explained that the gospel-bringer is not like an adviser coming to tell us a set of how-to’s, telling us to fight for our souls. Rather they are a messenger telling us what God has already done. The result of both models might look similar. In both cases you would want to do something in response. But, if the gospel is merely a how-to, you will obey out of fear. If the gospel is a declaration of what has already happened, you obey out of joy. Because it is a message (not a method!) words are critical.........

Keller also argued strongly that every sermon must be about Jesus. Christ needs to be taught every Sunday. The difference between a lecture and a sermon is that in a sermon Jesus shows up. If a sermon is just about what I should do or believe, people will just feel more guilty. Instead, if you say this is what you must do, but, by the way, you probably can't do it, but there is one who did it on our behalf—if you understand what he did for us—then you will begin to be able to do it, too.

Jesus is our true wealth, giving status, security, and stability. The Bible is basically about Jesus and what he has done, and not me and what I have to do. Tim spoke about how each of the main OT characters are examples of Jesus. For example, Jesus is the true Esther who didn’t just say, “If I perish, I perish” but “When I perish, I perish.”

Even becoming a Christian is not something we do. We are instead converted, something happens to us. We are born again from outside. We must have God reveal to us the state of our hearts.....

Tim also spoke about the need for us to avoid the twin dangers of (1) isolating ourselves from the world around us through cultural withdrawal, and its opposite (2) cultural assimilation and accommodation. We need to be countercultural, but engaged and caring. Tim explained that in New York people love what the gospel has to say about forgiveness and hate what it has to say about sex, while in some other countries they love what it says about sex and hate the concept of forgiveness.

He also explained in closing that the gospel is not simple. It is not boring. It is infinitely deep and complex and stimulating and thrilling. As Peter says, even angels long to look into it. We therefore need our preaching to reflect the richness of this wonderful truth that saved us.
Thanks, Adrian! And Thanks to Tim Keller.

The Trinity: So What?

Interesting article on the Doctrine of the Trinity, ignorance of the doctrine, allegories about God's Nature (i.e. The Shack), etc. at The Trinity: So What? | Christianity Today

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Who Are You Becoming?

“I would much rather say that every time you make a choice you are turning to central part of you, the part of you that chooses, into something a little different from what it was before. And taking your life as a whole, with all your innumerable choices, all your life long, you are slowly turning the central thing either into a heavenly creature or into a hellish creature: either into a creature that is in harmony with God, and with other creatures, and with itself, or else into one that is in a state of war and hatred with God, and with its fellow creatures, and with itself.
“To be the one kind of creature is heaven, that is, it is joy and peace and knowledge and power. To be the other means madness, horror, idiocy, rage, impotence, and eternal loneliness. Each of us at each moment is progressing to one state or the other.”

C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

Hat Tip: Kingdom People

Being Part of the Journey: Yourself and Others

I'm learning that as a leader, it's not just about helping others "get there" - it's also about being a part of their JOURNEY of getting there. And by acknowledging the slight positive shifts, people feel more empowered to keep making those slight shifts - until eventually.......they're there! ~ Scott Hodge
Hat Tip: Rick Ianniello

This is why I chose my nome de blog- The Journeyman. Following Jesus is a journey, and, despite the solitary figure in the image above, it is one where you cannot go alone, but must walk with others who also follow the same Master. We walk together.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Ultimate Spot Remover

Eric Jones at TRANSFORMED DAILY! quotes from 2 Peter 3:!4:
So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this (a new heaven and a new earth), make every effort (work hard) to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him.
Eric then comments:
Before we go any further, let’s remember that Peter is writing to Christians. He is talking to people who have already accepted Christ as their Savior and been baptized.

In light of God’s new heaven and new earth, Peter exhorts his readers to aggressively pursue growing in holiness and righteousness. He is exhorting them to work hard at making sure they don’t have any sin in their lives. Peter tells them to do everything they have to in order to be found spotless, blameless, and at peace with God. Spotless means without any spots. Peter didn’t say mostly spotless or almost blameless. He is saying go all the way, and aggressively participate and cooperate with God’s desire and plan to purify you – now, not just when you die.

I find it interesting that if a pastor today makes this same cry that Peter did for Christians to work hard at holy living; they are chastised for promoting legalism and works-based Christianity. Peter’s message isn’t necessarily politically correct today. Nonetheless, it is truth, and we shouldn't be afraid to repeat it.

This message is exciting to me because God’s grace is enough to remove every spot. Remember what Peter said earlier in this letter, “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness.” Yes, we need to keep on scrubbing, but we have been given the ultimate spot remover.

Friday, June 6, 2008

The Necktie - R.I.P.

David at JOLLYBLOGGER celebrates the death of men's neckties.
Anyway, there's good news on the culture front for us tie-haters - the Men's Dress Furnishings Association is calling it quits because men aren't wearing ties anymore. As far as I am concerned the whole thing of wearing a tie to church was a cultural accommodation anyway, so it's no big deal.

And just for fun, here's some thoughts on why men started wearing ties in the first place. You would think that the more prudish among us would think twice about wearing ties due to the possible origins of the tie as a phallic symbol. From that article, here's a couple of my personal favorite comments on the origin of ties.
David quotes from The Guardian:
I thought that part of the reason was so that men had a handkerchief near by for when they needed to blow their noses.

The tie was an invention of the Victorians. Supposedly it was to protect your shirt from the detritus of everyday. However, historically only two groups of people have anything around their necks, slaves and the hanged. If you had said to a Roman 'here put this around your throat' he would have been highly insulted.
You know, it took me a while to get used and comfortable not wearing a tie to church. Maybe that shows what a "stuffed shirt" I really am! Up until three years ago I wore suits and ties to work everyday. Such dress felt normal to me. However, almost no one does at our church, and many of the folks in our congregation tend to associate ties with lawyers, bureaucrats and others who have caused them problems in the past. So I've learned to go tieless, and to like it. Even an old dog can learn a new trick.

The Power of Envy

From Darryl's Blog a story of the power of envy.
The story is told of a monk lived in a wilderness cave. He was known far and wide for holiness, so much so that his reputation reached even to hell itself. So the devil took three of his most effective demons with him to tempt the monk out of his godliness. They found the monk sitting at the mouth of his cave, a serene look of contentment on his face. The first demon planted in his mind the temptation of great power, with visions of glorious kingdoms. But the monk's face remained serene. The second tempter planted in the monk's mind the temptation of great wealth, with visions of gold and silver and prosperity. But still the monk's face remained serene and contented. The third demon planted in his mind the temptation of sensuous pleasure, with visions of beautiful women. But the monk's face remained quiet and godly.

Annoyed, the devil barked, "Step aside, and I will show you what has never failed." He strolled up beside the monk, leaned over, and whispered into his ear, "Have you heard the news? Your classmate Makarios has just been promoted to bishop of Alexandria." The face of the monk scowled.
May God give me the spirit of contentment, to rejoice when others, whether friend or enemy, are blessed.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Meditations on Corporate Worship

Thoughts on corporate worship from Justin Childers at Cross-Eyed:
Corporate worship should be:

God-focused – Worship is to be focused on the Triune God of the Bible. Believers should boldly and humbly approach the throne of God with confidence through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We were created by God for God. We exist to glorify God by enjoying God.

Christ-exalting – Worship is to be specifically focused on exalting the person and work of Jesus Christ. All good things come to us by virtue of the substitutionary death of Jesus Christ. Thus, we are to celebrate our Savior each time we gather to worship.

Spirit-empowered – Worship is to be empowered by the Holy Spirit. In worship, we are to yield ourselves to the power of the Spirit and allow Him to say and do whatever He pleases

Bible-saturated – Worship is to be informed by God’s Word. The Bible contains God’s instructions for how we are to worship Him. Thus, we are to saturate our worship gatherings with His Word. The songs, prayers, readings, preaching, and ordinances should be permeated with Scriptural truth. When we gather to sing praise to God, the content of the songs is more important than the particular style in which they are sung.

Joyfully-reverent – Worship is to be both joyful and reverent. The Bible says that God is pleased when we find our greatest joy in Him and when we have a proper reverence in His presence. God is holy and should be praised in the way He has ordained in His Word.

Participatory/Congregational – Worship is to be congregational in nature. When the church gathers, we must guard against a spectator mindset. Each believer should fully participate in every aspect of the worship service. We do not gather to all individually meet with God. We gather to corporately worship our great God with one heart and one voice.

Hat Tip: Already Not Yet

Escaping the Idol Factory

The Eucatastrophe 101 Blog has a interesting review of a soon to be released book by Greg Beale entitled We Become What We Worship: A Biblical Theology of Idolatry, with the theme that "worship is a life or death issue and that we are constantly being shaped into the image of what we worship. "
The heart of the biblical understanding of idolatry, argues Gregory Beale, is that we take on the characteristics of what we worship.

Employing Isaiah 6 as his interpretive lens, Beale demonstrates that this understanding of idolatry permeates the whole canon, from Genesis to Revelation. Beale concludes with an application of the biblical notion of idolatry to the challenges of contemporary life.
It has been said that the human heart is an idol factory, manufacturing new images to worship. Sounds like this book offers helpful advice to escape from that trap. May be a good book to add to my reading list (as if I didn't have enough!)

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Not Just Lakeland

Michael Davis at Charismatica Blog sees and hears about an increase in healings in 2008- and not just at Lakeland.
I know this is the case at Vineyard CC Laguna Niguel, CA. More and more folks are being healed. Heard a few visitors say last Sunday: " We couldn’t fly to Lakeland but we heard that something was going on here also".

At the beginning of the month we sponsored a prophetic conference by John Paul Jackson, it was supposed to be about prophecy and interpreting dreams and visions but God had different plans. Soon a bunch of people started getting healed of all sorts of things that they have been prayed for in the past with little or no results and the whole conference became as much about healing as anything else.

Our pastor, Mike Hudgins at the beginning of the year told the congregation that he believed that the Lord told him in November that 2008 would see healing released in a new and special way–and that was way before Lakeland.

I also recently corresponded with JC Smith and he also is seeing an increase in healing in his ministry where ever he goes. It will be interesting to see where this goes and how it spreads.

2 months ago, our pastor was coming back from a conference in India that he conducted with a team from our ministry school, he oversees 300-400 churches in Southeast Asia including 70+ in India. 50,000 attended the services and nearly 20,000 came to Christ, all sorts of diseases were healed, and the blind began to see. Everyone the team laid their hands on were healed. On the plane back to California, the Lord told Pastor Mike that soon he was going to release healing like that in America. A couple of weeks later it all started in Lakeland, praise God!

Since then in Laguna Niguel, we have seen an increase in healing and folks are coming to Christ at every service. The church is growing and the Holy Spirit is hovering over the services. Also, the 24 hour prayer room is busy all the time. I can’t use the ‘R’ word yet, but it is close and it is marvelous!

Jesus and Justification

More great writing by Michael Spencer at Jesus Shaped Spirituality
I believe Jesus announces the Kingdom of God as an invitation to repent of self-righteousness and receive the acceptance of God as a free gift. This declaration and gift then results in participation in a new community where other persons are treated with the same acceptance and are offered the same free gift.

Justification is not primarily an experience, but a person does come to critical points through process.

We hear the message of the Kingdom or experience the acceptance of the Kingdom.

We renounce our own righteousness (repentance from sins, in other words) and trust in God alone for “rightness.”

We enter the community formed around Jesus and the Gospel.

We participate in this community by extending it, offering it, practicing it and nurturing it.

"Maybe the Most Awesome Thing I've Ever Heard"

From Jared Wilson at The Gospel Driven Church. Maybe the Most Awesome Thing I've Ever Heard:
Last night we unexpectedly had about half our usual numbers at PRAXIS, Element's "third place" small group, and I was a little disappointed about that until a young lady who's recently started visiting said this:

"I became a Christian eight months ago. If I go back to my country, they'll hang me." (Pause) "But it's okay."

But it's okay.
Kinda puts things in perspective, doesn't it?

And then our group had the awesome privilege of helping her figure out how to navigate her new Bible.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

The Democrats' Choice

I don't write much about politics on this blog, but this comment by Bill Bennett at The Corner on National Review Online is to good to pass up.
And thus the Democratic party is about to nominate a far left candidate in the tradition of George McGovern, albeit without McGovern’s military and political record. The Democratic party is about to nominate a far-left candidate in the tradition of Michael Dukakis, albeit without Dukakis’s executive experience as governor. The Democratic party is about to nominate a far left candidate in the tradition of John Kerry, albeit without Kerry’s record of years of service in the Senate. The Democratic party is about to nominate an unvetted candidate in the tradition of Jimmy Carter, albeit without Jimmy Carter’s religious integrity as he spoke about it in 1976. Questions about all these attributes (from foreign policy expertise to executive experience to senatorial experience to judgment about foreign leaders to the instructors he has had in his cultural values) surround Barack Obama. And the Democratic party has chosen him.
That has got to be the most concise, cogent and complete description of Senator Obama written to date in this campaign year.

Policy on Controversy and Posting Comments

I do not kid myself into thinking that a lot of people read my blog. Other than my wife and kids, a few friends (and maybe my dogs -who knows what they do all day) I doubt anyone reads my scattered musings on a regular basis.

I have, however, had comments posted from readers unknown to me when I have posted on controversial matters, movements or people - such as on Todd Bentley and the Lakeland Renewal, among others. There are apparently people who scour the internet for anything posted on the Lakeland Renewal and then send mass produced heresy alerts to the authors.

Therefore, I've decided it is time to have a policy on posting comments from readers on my blog. So Ta Dah- Here it is:

1. If you submit a comment in response to something specific I have said or linked to I will post your comment, so long as you write in a polite and respectful manner.

2. If you submit a comment criticising or disagreeing with something I have said, I will probably post your comment. If you catch me in a factual error or a violation of blogging etiquette, I will certainly post your correction. Please be gentle; I'm still new at this and God is not done with me yet.

3. If you write to praise my wisdom, erudition, spirituality, scholarship, writing skill or personality, I will most certainly post your comment!

4. However, in the future if someone submits a generic comment simply due to the topic of a post, without regard to or comment on something I have said in this blog, I will probably not post your comment. So there, all you spamming heresy hunters! I am interested in conversations, even potentially heated ones, but not in shotgun blasted attacks.

So, let the comments come forth! If anyone outside my immediate circle is reading this and would like to let me know that you have dropped by, please leave a note. I would love to hear from you.

(P.S. My Pastor and another good friend of mine are going to Lakeland to experience the renewal first hand later this week. I hope to report on their observations after they return.)

Dissin' Peter?

Great post at The Thinklings on the tendency of Bible teachers, preachers and others to make fun of Peter;s impetuous nature:
Something written elsewhere today reminded me of something Simon Peter once said. You know Simon Peter: he's been the subject of a million chortling observations among Christians for ages. You've heard it, and probably said it. "Good ol', dumb ol', impulsive, talks-before-he-thinks Simon Peter".

I don't make fun of Simon Peter anymore. Just a few reasons below:

After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. So Jesus said to the Twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”

- John 6:66-69

He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

- Matthew 16:15-16

Just those two pretty much do it for me. Peter had some faults, but sometimes he just nailed it. It's times like that when I realize I'm not worthy to untie his shoes.
Also, Peter may have sunk when he took his eyes off from Jesus - but he did take a few steps walking on water, and no one else got out of the boat! The sum total of people in the history of man who have walked on water: Jesus and Peter. Pretty good company!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Is Blogging Bad for Your Soul?

Is blogging bad for your soul? Some questions for me to ponder.
Before your next post ask yourself . . .

1. Do you bath your blogging in prayer? None of us would presume to preach or teach without asking the Lord’s blessing. The same should be true of our blogging. Do you pray that God will use what you’ve written to show his glory and be helpful in people’s lives?
2. Is your blogging a clear expression of love for neighbors? For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Galatians 5:14 ESV) Is this true when your blogging? Are you consciously loving your readers when your write? Do write about others in a way that demonstrates love?
3. Do you intentionally write words that will encourage and build up other believers? Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. (Ephesians 4:29 ESV) Most blogs don’t strike me as encouraging, neither do most of my posts. But this is never optional. Do you aim to build others up when you blog?
4. Do you follow after sensational topics to build readership? But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless. (Titus 3:9 ESV) I’ve fallen into this trap. If you watch your stats then you know that people like junk. Does this drive your blog?
5. Does you blogging keep you from serving others? For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. (Galatians 5:13 ESV) God designed your liberty in Christ for the service of others. How does your blogging track with that? Could you be helping more around the house? Does your two hours at the keyboard keep you from serving others or sharing Christ?

From : Tony Kummer at Said at Southern Seminary

The Biggest Story in Southern Baptist News

The President of the Southern Baptist Convention,Frank Page, tells Southern Baptists that half of their churches will die in the next twenty years!
"If we don't start paying attention to the realities … by the year 2030, we will be proud to have 20,000 rather than 44,000 Southern Baptist churches." That's a quote from outgoing Southern Baptist Convention President Frank Page recently. According to a report in the, Page believes the 16.2 million-member convention faces the same challenges that bedeviled other Protestant denominations — lower birthrates, aging demographics and a culture increasingly hostile to Christianity.
Michael Spencer comments at
For those of us who work for SBC funded entities, this is a bit ‘o sobering news and if a person has both feet on the ground and his/her head in the real world, they would immediately take the news seriously.

And thousands of SBC churches do take that sort of things seriously. They are starting new churches that don’t resemble a refuge for southern white people who think churches ought to be museums of their tribe. They are daring to do things differently, or not at all, or like the other guy who is reaching his community.

Good for them. But for the ten thousand or so churches that are going to expire in the next twenty years, it’s a sad matter, and I hate to see it. I’ve preached and ministered in many of those churches. They have good people in them who love Jesus. They just have no idea at all what it means to be a missional church, so the clock is ticking, and no revival, change of pastor or new carpet is going to make a difference.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Top 10 Lists

C. Michael Patton offers three LOL hilarious "Top Ten Reasons to Not Cross the Road" for three groups of Christians:


Reformed Theologians