Thursday, April 29, 2010

Where You Place Your Love

Here's a quote from Dietrich Bonhoeffer:
"If you love the vision you have for community, you will destroy community. If you love the people around you, you will create community."
 Saw this at Cerulean Sanctum, Dan Edelen's web site.  Dan goes on to generalize Bonhoeffer's concept:
I think this can be distilled into a generalization that always works:  If you love the vision you have for {desired ministry outcome}, you will destroy {desired ministry outcome}. If you love the people around you, you will create {desired ministry outcome}.
Think about it:  If you love being missional, if you love being reformed, if you love being "naturly supernatural," if you love being emerging, if you love being relevant, etc, you may destroy what you love.  I guess the best thing is to just love God and love people.  BTW, didn't Jesus say something about that?

(Picture above from Nate Spencer's Site)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

What to Make of Jennifer Knapp & Larry King

As most have probably heard by now, Christian singer/songwriter Jennifer Knapp has put out a new album after an absence for several years, and at the same time has come out as a lesbian in a long term same sex relationship. She recently appeared on the Larry King show on CNN.

Trevin Wax at "Kingdom People" published a great essay and review of her interview - Jennifer Knapp & Larry King: Why We Always Lose this Debate. Trevin says:
I’m convinced that we continue to lose the argument about homosexuality and Christianity because the traditionalist almost always makes his case within a conversation that has been framed by the opposing viewpoint. The Christian doesn’t lose the argument at the micro-level. The argument is lost from the beginning because of how the discussion is framed
He then makes the following five cogent points:
  1. We need to shift emphasis from the truth that "everyone is a sinner" to the necessity of repentance.
  2. We must not allow ourselves to be defined by our sexual attractions.
  3. We must expose the arrogance and judgmentalism of those who would so flippantly dismiss the witness of Christians for two thousand years.
  4. We need soft hearts toward Christians struggling with same-sex attraction.
In conclusion, Wax said:
Even though we continue to hold to the increasingly unpopular view that homosexual behavior is sinful, we recognize that many Christians are involved in the struggle – whether silently or openly – and we should commit to prayerful pilgrimage with them.

All of us are sinners. True Christians are repentant sinners. And God’s grace is mighty to save us and change us – every one of us and every part of us.
I wish to associate myself with Trevin's  opinion and conclusions.

Monday, April 26, 2010

"Don’t Ever Read a Bible Verse"

"Don't Ever Read a Bible Verse" - Now there's a provocative title! See Justin Taylor's blog post Don’t Ever Read a Bible Verse -(Quoting Greg Kouki in a post of the same name.)
If there was one bit of wisdom, one rule of thumb, one single skill I could impart, one useful tip I could leave that would serve you well the rest of your life, what would it be? What is the single most important practical skill I’ve ever learned as a Christian?
Here it is: Never read a Bible verse. That’s right, never read a Bible verse. Instead, always read a paragraph at least.
My Radio Trick
When I’m on the radio, I use this simple rule to help me answer the majority of Bible questions I’m asked, even when I’m totally unfamiliar with the verse. It’s an amazingly effective technique you can use, too.
I read the paragraph, not just the verse. I take stock of the relevant material above and below. Since the context frames the verse and gives it specific meaning, I let it tell me what’s going on.
This works because of a basic rule of all communication: Meaning always flows from the top down, from the larger units to the smaller units, not the other way around. The key to the meaning of any verse comes from the paragraph, not just from the individual words.
Yeah, it's a provocative title - but totally true.  Read the whole thing here.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Texan Commandments

Here's a humorous "Translation" of the Ten Commandments into "Texan," from Better Bibles Blog:
"(1) Just one God. (2) Honor yer Ma & Pa. (3) No telling tales or gossipin’. (4) Git yourself to Sunday meetins. (5) Put nothin’ before God. (6) No foolin’ around with another fella’s gal. (7) No killin’. (8) Watch yer mouth. (9) Don’t take what ain’t yers. (10) Don’t be hankerin’ for yer buddy’s stuff."
Anybody want to try a translation into Mississippian?


“The Bible is the story of God’s counteroffensive against sin. It is the grand narrative of how God made it right, how he is making it right, and how he will one day make it right finally and forever.”

- Greg Gilbert, What is the Gospel? (Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway, 2010), 61.

Hat Tip:  Of First Importance

Saturday, April 24, 2010

For My Single Guy Friends: Some Christian Pickup Lines

For the consideration (and laughter) of my single male readers - some Christian pick-up lines::
  • "“I didn’t believe in predestination until tonight.”
  • “I believe one of my ribs belongs to you.”
  • “Hey.. i would work 7 years for your sister.. but I would work 7 more years for you.”
  • “Your hair is like a flock of goats descending from Gilead”
  • “You put the ‘cute’ back in persecution…”
  • “Feel free to meet me at the threshing floor.”
  • “You’re totally depraved but I’d still like to go out with you…”
  • “I’m interested in full time ministry, and not only that… I also play the guitar.”
  • “Look, you’re nearly 22. Most Christians are 3 years into marriage by now… just settle for me.”
  • “Have you died before? Because that looks like a resurrection body to me..”
  • “I would have asked you out to dinner, but I just put all my money in the offering basket.”
  • “Hi, I’m Calvin. You were meant to choose me.”
  • “All I’m looking for is a Godly woman. I don’t care that you’re not attractive.” (That will go down well for sure)
  • “Can I buy you a non-alcoholic beverage?”
  • “My favorite species of vegetation is the church plant.”
  • “I have many sponsor children. one in each developing nation.”
  • “Who’s your favorite apostle?”
  • “The word says ‘Give drink to those who are thirsty, and feed the hungry’; how about dinner?”
  • “I have familiarized myself with all 5 love languages, in fact, I invented 4 of them.”
  • [check the person's shirt tag] “Just as i thought… made in heaven.”
  • “For you I would slay two Goliaths”"
 From: Christian Pickup Lines Reprise « Thinking Out Loud:

History of Heresy - A Book review

I recently read the newest book by Alister Mcgrath, Heresy: A History of Defending the Truth. Here's a link to a very good summary and review of the book by Kevin DeYoung,who says:
"Heresy, says McGrath, has been “sprinkled with stardust” because a (largely mistaken) notion of heresy fits the cultural mood (p. 1). Orthodoxy is thought to be pedestrian and reactionary, nothing more than the theology of the conquerors, who, no doubt, oppressed those whom they arbitrarily deemed heterodox. Heresy, on the other hand, is exciting and liberating, a subversion of authoritarianism and a vindication for victims of the past. The accomplishment of this book is that McGrath patiently demonstrates that this assumed narrative is terrifically misguided. Heretics were sometimes more patriarchal, more ascetic, and more authoritarian than their orthodox rivals. The good guys weren’t always so bad, and the bad guys weren’t always that good. Somebody tell Dan Brown."
I recommend the book.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Bible Interpretation In a Nutshell

Picture/Chart above is from a great post by Michael Patton at Parchment and Pen entitled  "Bible Interpretation In a Nutshell".  The topic of discussion is:
"...a practical guide to biblical interpretation following a three step process that I have used for years. The Bible is two-thousand years old and often seems very archaic. This makes it hard to know how it applies to us. It can be very frustrating as all Christians are encouraged to read their Bible daily but often are at a loss as to how to understand it and apply the message to their own lives. This process has served me well and I believe it is representative of the best way to interpret the ancient word of God and apply it to today. I hope that it will alleviate some of the “Bible interpretation anxiety” that is out there, allowing the Bible to become real and relevant to your life."
I like it! Recommended for your perusal and study.

Trinitarian Change

“The Father is intimately involved in our lives so that our circumstances train us in godliness. The Son has set us free from both the penalty and the power of sin so that we now live under the reign of grace. The Spirit gives us a new attitude toward sin and a new power to change.

The combined forces of the Trinity are at work in our lives to set us free and make us holy.”

- Tim Chester, You Can Change (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2010), 53.

Hat Tip:  Of First Importance

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Is It Possible to Read Too Much?

"It is far from my intention to depreciate the value or deny the usefulness of books, without exception: a few well-chosen treatises, carefully perused and thoroughly digested, will deserve and reward our pans; but a multiplicity of reading is seldom attended with a good effect.
Besides the confusion it often brings upon the judgment and memory, it occasions a vast expense of time, indisposes for close thinking, and keeps us poor, in the midst of seeming plenty, by reducing us to live upon a foreign supply, instead of labouring to improve and increase the stock of our own reflections."
— John Newton in his letter "A Plan of a Compendious Christian Library" (Works of John Newton, Volume 1, 236). Paragraphing added.
Hat Tip:  Reading Too Much? :: Desiring God

Now he has gone from preaching to just meddling - He's touching MY idol and sacred cow. Ouch! "Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saves a wretch book-lover like me."

Dark Times

Do Christians have dark times- periods of depression and even despair?

Yes, yes, unfortunately yes. One of my favorite bloggers, C. Michael Patton at Parchment and Pen, is going through one now, and opened up for his readers in this transparent, emotionally raw post.
It is a very dark time in my life. I don’t know how else to describe it. About three or four weeks ago I changed. I don’t know how to describe this to you. Either I attempt to comfort you and preempt any sorrow by saying it is not really that bad and understate my circumstance, or I catalogue my thoughts to you with the possibility of misunderstanding and dread. All I can say is that I have had some sort of mental breakdown. My strength is gone. Depression? Certainly. Anxiety? Definitely. Fighting with the Lord? Most assuredly. All I know is that I broke a few weeks ago and I don’t know how to fix myself. All of the advice that I have given to broken people over the years is now pointed back at me and I realize how empty it can be.
Christians are not immune from hard times and down times, or even from clinical depression. It does us no good to pretend otherwise. King David had such times (just read the Psalms), Jeremiah had them, Martin Luther had them, C.H. Spurgeon had them. I've had them, and you have had them, whether you will admit it to your Christian friends or not.   Let's be real, people!

If our theology does not allow for depression and periods of darkness for believers, then perhaps something is wrong with our theology.Yes, there is a spiritual joy from the Lord that comes even in the midst of sorrow, but the sorrow can still be very real, and sometimes very inexplicable. Exhortations to just "rejoice in the Lord," however well meant, sometimes just do not cut it.

I think there are some aspects of the love and mercy of God that can only be understood through (and after) these dark times. The God who is most revealed in the darkness of the crucifixion of His Son also seems to show himself more clearly to the beaten man in the mud by the side of the Jericho road. Our dark times may be a form of His severe mercy.

But that realization doesn't make it any more fun to go through.

BTW, if you see this, Michael, I'm praying for you.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Prayer for the Morning

Luther’s Morning Prayer

My Heavenly Father, I thank You, through Jesus Christ, Your beloved Son,
that You kept me safe from all evil and danger last night.
Save me, I pray, today as well, from every evil and sin,
so that all I do and the way that I live will please you.
I put myself in your care, body and soul and all that I have.
Let Your holy Angels be with me, so that the evil enemy will not gain power over me.

Hat Tip: The Blazing Center » Pen Your Prayers: "

I’m Through Cheering For Jerk Atheletes

I agree with David Miller at SBC Blogs on this one - I’m Through Cheering For Jerks
"I know that none of these people are going to be devastated, but here’s where this old preacher takes his stand:

* If you behave in arrogance and self-indulgence as a habit, I will not be your fan. Others may cheer you, I will not. I’m sick of diva wide-receivers or preening, mugging hoopsters. Remember Tony Dorsett or Emmitt Smith? They would score touchdowns, hand the ball to the ref and head for the sidelines. They didn’t dance or talk trash. Just do it!

* If you father multiple children out of wedlock with multiple women, you’re a jerk. I don’t care how well you can throw, shoot or hit. You are an embarrassment to the male sex. I’m not your fan.
* If you beat your wife or girlfriend, you are slime. That person in the stands cheering you will not be me.

* I know, you are famous and rich and there are all sorts of temptations out there. But if you cheat on your wife, you’re a stinking pig. Not only do you demean your wife, but you demean all men. We don’t all cheat, but jerks like you make women think we do. Don’t expect me to ignore the fact that you are a big, fat jerk just because you can hit the snot out of a golf ball.
* If you force yourself on a young lady, using your celebrity and power to get what you want regardless of her desires, I’m not wearing your jersey anymore and I’m not cheering for the team whose jersey you wear. I’m old fashioned. I believe that sex is meant to be kept within marriage. But I also understand that it might be unrealistic to expect every sports star to save himself for marriage. Most aren’t Christians and are not likely to abide by Christian values. But (and I can’t believe I am saying this) I don’t cheer for rapists. I can expect an athlete to honor his marriage vows and to show respect for women in general.

* And for the honor of our Lord Jesus Christ, if you are going to talk about God then live to glorify him! If you are going to give your testimony, please won’t you also live your testimony? If you are going to be a lying, cheating jerk, could you keep your faith a secret? For Christ’s sake (and I mean that literally, not as a profanity), keep your mouth shut about God, about Jesus, and about your faith. Don’t let people think that Jesus is the one who made you the horrendous jerk you have become."
Take that Tiger Woods and Ben Rothlesberger, and all the rest of you jerks!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Four Hundred and Eighty-Nine Years Ago

From "Desiring God" Four Hundred and Eighty-Nine Years Ago He Stood, A rembrance of what happened 489 years ago today.
On April 18th, when Luther reappeared before the Diet to give his response, his examiner, Johann Eck, restated the question (with some prologue):
Martin, how can you assume that you are the only one to understand the sense of Scripture? Would you put your judgment above that of so many famous men and claim that you know more than they all?
You have no right to call into question the most holy orthodox faith, instituted by Christ the perfect law-giver, proclaimed throughout the world by the apostles, sealed by the red blood of the martyrs, confirmed by the sacred councils, defined by the Church in which all our fathers believed until death and gave to us as an inheritance, and which now we are forbidden by the pope and the emperor to discuss lest there be no end of debate.
I ask you, Martin—answer candidly and without horns—do you or do you not repudiate your books and the errors which they contain?
Luther had his response:
Since then Your Majesty and your lordships desire a simple reply, I will answer without horns and without teeth. Unless I am convicted by Scripture and plain reason—I do not accept the authority of popes and councils, for they have contradicted each other—my conscience is captive to the Word of God.
I cannot and I will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. God help me. Amen.
(Quotations from the classic, great biography of Martin Luther Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther by Roland Bainton. Paragraphing added)

Prayer of Confession

"Prayer of Confession

Hear our prayer of confession, Oh God.
For there are a million ways in which we are unfaithful to you.
We set before our eyes the longings of our hearts,
While your word gathers dust.
We are weak and frail and powerless against sin,
Because we regard the grasping of your precepts as burdensome.
Our lips say one thing, and our lives say another,
As we worship what we have acquired and what we long to acquire.
We are your bride and yet practice harlotry.
Hear our prayer of confession, Oh God.
For there are more than a million ways in which you show yourself faithful.
You retrieve your bride from the street corner,
And establish her in your home.
With grateful hearts we beg you to correct our longings,
And make your word alive in our beings.

Quoted from Prayer of Confession «
(I can pray this one - Amen!)

Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Suffering of the Son of Hamas

I wrote a while ago about the new book Son of Hamas, written by Mosab Hassan Yousef, and co-written with Ron Brackin, an old friend of mine.  Mosab is the son of one of the founders of the Palestinian terrorist group, Hamas, who converted to Christ and helped Israeli intelligence stop several terror attacks.  Now Mosab has begun blogging about the book and his life. This is heart wrenching!
So what have I gotten out of writing a bestseller?

The U.S. government has rejected my plea for political asylum, saying that I was connected with a terrorist organization, even though I was never a member of Hamas. I can never become a citizen, and if I leave the country, I cannot return.

Because I became a Christian and helped to save Israeli and Palestinian lives, I am condemned to death by the Qur’an and its god, making it the duty of every good Muslim to kill me.

By going public, I put the lives of my mother, brothers and sisters at extreme risk. They still live in the West Bank, which is ruled by the Fatah faction of the PLO. Fatah hates Hamas because it killed many of its members in Gaza after the 2007 elections. What if Fatah members, afraid that I will reveal more secrets about them, go out of control and start shooting at my parents’ house?

Even Christians in the Middle East are tainted because of me. Now, every Muslim will accuse them of collaborating with Israel, threatening their lives.
We need to be praying for the safety of this brother, and for his family and the witness of his book to the Muslim world.  And what is the matter with our government and not giving him asylum!

Some related links:

Interview in GQ Magazine
Book Review by Tim Challies
Wall Street Journal  Interview

Friday, April 16, 2010

Christianity's Surge in Muslim Indonesia

From the web site of Time Magazine, there is a very interesting report on Christianity's Surge in Indonesia

" the heart of the world's most populous Muslim-majority nation, Christians held a Pentecostal revival, complete with faith healing and speaking in tongues. As a tropical downpour fell, believers' tears mixed with rain — and a line of sick and disabled took to the stage to claim they had been cured by a God they, like Indonesian Muslims, call Allah. "People think Indonesia is just a Muslim country, but look at all these people," says pastor David Nugroho, whose Gesing church boasts a congregation of 400 worshippers today, up from 30 when it was founded in 1967. "We are not afraid to show our faith.""

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Way In is the Way On

  "“We become Christians by faith in Jesus, we stay Christians by faith in Jesus, and we grow as Christians by faith in Jesus.”

- Tim Chester, You Can Change (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2010), 43."

Hat Tip:  Of First Importance:

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Life Shaped By Jesus

What does a spiritual life shaped by Jesus look like?

In honor of the death this week of Michael Spencer, the Internet Monk, his friends have been posting some of his best blog essays from the past ten years.  In this one, entitled What Is Jesus-Shaped Spirituality? he discussed his quest for a "Jesus Shaped Spirituality" and presented this list of what that might look like.
1) It is a spirituality rooted in the Biblical story. It is a spirituality that grows up in the narrative of the Bible and within the categories of the Biblical worldview. Most particularly, it is a spirituality of the Biblical story that is finally and completely about Jesus and understood in Jesus.
2) It is a spirituality where God comes to all people: in Jesus, through the incarnation, the Gospel, Scripture and the work of the Holy Spirit.
3) It is a spirituality where God is available, immediately, through the mediation of Jesus, to all people, in the power of the Spirit as revealed in the Gospel.
4) It is a spirituality where Jesus is the ultimate sacrament, and all sacraments are visible, actual participations in Jesus as salvation.
5) It is a spirituality where the Kingdom of God is present everywhere and God’s people are called to be workers for and proclaimers of the Kingdom wherever God has placed them.
6) It is a spirituality especially manifested where the Gospel is explicitly heard, believed and practiced.
7) It is a spirituality where God is known, experienced and worshiped as Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit as revealed by Jesus in scripture.
8] It is a spirituality of the compassion of Jesus for the whole range of human brokenness. It is a spirituality of kindness, gentleness and generosity to the hurting, the lonely and the wounded.
9) It is a spirituality where all people are called to the decisive act of public, intentional discipleship, inaugurated in baptism and continued, when possible, in a local church.
10) It is a spirituality of grace as understood in the teaching and actions of Jesus, and through the grace of God revealed in the Gospel.
11) It is a spirituality of inclusion, particularly imitating Jesus’ inclusion of outcasts, touching of lepers, respectful treatment of women, outreaches to Gentiles and liberating miracles for those who were considered beyond help, hope and forgiveness.
12) It is a spirituality that takes place in a movement of cross-cultural church planting. Jesus shaped spirituality is formed in the context of the outcomes and values that contribute to cross-cultural church planting, particularly in places where the Gospel has not been heard.
13) It is a spirituality that is shaped, whenever possible, in local churches and under the ministry of local church leadership. It is a spirituality that receives the ministry of the Spirit through the broadest possible experience of the church of Jesus.
14) It is a spirituality that announces and practices the end of religion, because all religion is fulfilled in Jesus. What remains of religion and religious practice is completely transformed by Jesus into a New Covenant understanding of the people of God.
15) It is a spirituality that calls all persons, and especially disciples, to continual personal transformation by grace in every area of human nature, experience and relationship.
16) It is a spirituality formed by the practice of prayer, reading scripture, worship, servanthood, mission and simplicity, both individually and, whenever possible, in community with other disciples.
17) It is a spirituality that is consciously, exclusively and intentionally Jesus-centered. The center and the boundaries of Jesus shaped spirituality are Jesus himself, as revealed in scripture, especially in the Gospels. It is a spirituality that takes all study of Jesus seriously, but affirms that Jesus is revealed with the authority of God in scripture.
18) It is a spirituality with a hopeful, optimistic eschatology of the Kingdom of God, inaugurated now and coming in fullness, announcing in advance God’s judgment of the world and God’s vindication of his people.
19) It is a spirituality that is not dispensed or controlled by institutions, but is accomplished by the work of the Spirit through whatever means God chooses as the shaping, forming element.
20) It is a spirituality of creativity, freedom and cultural diversity. We are constantly discovering and rediscovering Jesus in new ways. It is a spirituality that honors and appreciates the discovery of Jesus by those who have known Jesus before us.
21) It is a spirituality that receives and evaluates tradition, authority and theology within a living experience of discipleship to Jesus.

I can't find anything in this list that I could disagree with.  In fact, this is exactly what I crave and hunger for!

I am really going to miss the IMonk!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

RIP Michael Spencer (1956 - 2010)

I am saddened to learn this morning that Michael Spencer, aka "the Internet Monk," has passed away after a hard battle with cancer. Michael went to be with Jesus in the presence of his family at home in Oneida, Kentucky on Monday, April 5, 2010. See the announcement at

Michael was one of the early pioneers of Christian blogging.  The Internet Monk web site has been on my blog roll for several years. I did not always agree with him, but was always challenged by his words. His insight, discernment, clear writing and sometimes brutal honesty will all be greatly missed. I am so sorry that Michael did not live long enough to see the publication of his first book, Mere Churchianity, due out later this year. I will certainly be purchasing and reading it.

Rest in Peace, Brother. You've done good.

Comments and remembrances about the IMonk in the Christian blog-o-sphere:

Michael Patton at Parchment & Pen (Hat Tip for picture above)
Trevin Wax at Kingdom People
Bob Spencer at Wilderness Fandango
Jared Wilson at Gospel Driven Church
Steve McCoy at Reformissionary
Tony Cummer at Said at Southern Seminary
John H. at Confessing Evangelical
Darryl Dash at Dash House
Justin Taylor at Between Two Worlds
Timmy Brister at Provocations and Pantings
Jason Coker at Pastoralia

It is easy to see how much the IMonk was loved, was appreciated and will be missed.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Everybody Gets To Play - The Book

In conjunction with the post immediately below this, I recommend the book Everybody Gets to Play, selections from John Wimber's writings on decentralized ministry.  Good stuff!
"John Wimber wasn't interested in religion -- he was interested in a relationship with Jesus and discovering how that impacted the way he lived his life and the people with whom he shared his life. He viewed community as a great opportunity to put into practice the teachings of Jesus and felt following Jesus wasn't a spectator sport. In Everyone Gets to Play, Wimber's writings and teachings on life together in Christ drives home the importance of one of his favorite sayings and shares some of his ideas on what that can look like. From taking risks to prayer to leading others, Wimber s skillfully penned words from his writings and teachings still resonate powerfully today."

‘Everyone Gets to Play’

One of the things that I like the most about the Vineyard Movement is the ‘Everyone Gets to Play philosophy and ministry model. This is the principle of decentralized ministry; training and equipping all believers to pray for one another and for anyone (in or out of church) needing Jesus. John Wimber taught this idea extensively at the very beginning of our movement and planted it as foundational to our spiritual DNA .

Here's a discussion of that value at the Deep Church blog.
To me, ‘everyone gets to play’ is rooted in the belief that ‘doing ministry’ is not to be the sole prerogative of ‘the leader’, the big name superstar who was so often a feature of individualistic charismatic and pentecostal ministries in the twentieth century. It’s sad, but not hard to see why Christians from time-to-time get drawn towards an iconic, sparkly-eyed, dualistic figure who seems to live in a realm somewhere in-between the real world and the heavenly places, dispensing other-worldly wisdom and anointed ministry, and upon whose mystical spirituality one can but gaze in awe. Someone who has a ‘special anointing’ and is far closer to God than ordinary people, especially if one believes God is located on another planet. Some of us grew up with the assumption that – whether in a local meeting or on the big stage at some national event – this was essentially what anointed Spirit-filled Christianity was all about. Oh, how God must long for more such leaders, we thought. Oh, to be ‘not of this world’ in the same way ourselves. Surely this is what Jesus must have been like.

Parody the front-of-house superstar though one might (or as I would argue, one should), there are some serious theological points here concerning the priesthood of all believers and the way God gives the gifts of his Spirit to the church. It touches on the very essence of the human relationship with God and with one another within his Body. It has to do with our understanding of how God moves in us, through us and among us (plural) as a Christian community, not just in and through me as an individual.....

....It is biblically impossible to be a one-person ministry; at least, it is if we expect more than a tiny minority of the Spirit’s gifts to be present in that ministry. God has decided that only in community will all of the gifts be visible. If we want to see the full anointing of the Spirit, it will only be visible in us as a community. Only when we are together with others are we able, collectively, to reflect the full gifts of the Spirit. He gives them to each one, not to just one. How then can we limit those who ‘get to play’, if only God knows to whom he has determined to give each gift
Read the whole thing - It's worth it!

At our church we teach what we call "the ministry class" a couple times each year. Therefore, we have college students, new Christians, redeemed alcoholics, and all other kinds of people trained to pray for the sick, hurting and needy, and active in doing the Jesus stuff. Isn't that a wonderful way to do church!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter Song

"Hear the bells ringing
they're singing that you can be born again
Hear the bells ringing
they're singing Christ is risen from the dead

The angel up on the tombstone
said he is risen just as he said
Quickly now, go tell his disciples
that Jesus Christ is no longer dead

Joy to the world He has Risen, Hallelujah
He is risen, Hallelujah
He is risen, Hallelujah"

Lyrics to Easter Song, written by Anne Herring, and recorded by first The Second Chapter of Acts, then by Keith Green.  A glorious song for a glorious day!

Friday, April 2, 2010

The Heavy Load

"[Simon] carried only the wood of [the cross], he did not bear the sin that made it such a load. Christ did but transfer to Simon the outward frame, the mere tree. But the curse of the tree, which was our sin and its punishment, rested on Jesus’ shoulders still. Dear friend, if you think that you suffer all that a Christian can suffer, if all God’s billows roll over you, yet remember, there is not one drop of wrath in all your sea of sorrow. Jesus took the wrath. Jesus carried the sin.”               — Charles Spurgeon

Hat Tip: The Blazing Center

Thursday, April 1, 2010

One More Year..... And the Journey Continues

As of today this blog has been up and running for two years...and that's no April Fool! Thanks to those who have been with me along the journey, and to those who have joined us along the way.  I appreciate you all so much.

And now for another year on the journey - Off we go!