Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Making Stuff Happen

Hat Tip: Vitamin Z

Halloween and Evangelical Definitions

Some helpful (if tongue in cheek) evangelical definitions for Halloween from  Dr. Russell Moore:
An evangelical is a fundamentalist whose kids dress up for Halloween.
A conservative evangelical is a fundamentalist whose kids dress up for the church’s “Fall Festival.”
A confessional evangelical is a fundamentalist whose kids dress up as Zwingli and Bucer for “Reformation Day.”
A revivalist evangelical is a fundamentalist whose kids dress up as demons and angels for the church’s Judgment House community evangelism outreach.
An Emerging Church evangelical is a fundamentalist who has no kids, but who dresses up for Halloween anyway.
A fundamentalist is a fundamentalist whose kids hand out gospel tracts to all those mentioned above.

Hat Tip: Forward Progress

Reformation Day

October 31st is not just "All Hallows' Eve," but also Reformation Day, the day Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the Wittenburg Church door, starting the Protestant Reformation. It's always good to remember what the great reformer Martin Luther actually said and stood for.  Here are his famous words before Emperor Charles and the German Diet in the City of Worms.

"Since then your serene majesty and your lordships seek a simple answer, I will give it in this manner, neither horned nor toothed: Unless I am convinced by the testimony of the Scripture or by clear reason (for I do not trust either in the pope or in councils alone, since it is well known that they have often erred and contradicted themselves), I am bound by the Scriptures I have quoted and my conscience is captive to the word of God. I cannot and I will not retract anything, since it is neither safe nor right to go against conscience. [He then added in German] Here I stand. I can do no other. God help me! Amen"
May we all stand faithful with him.

Update: Want to read the 95 Theses?  Here they are.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Trying Too Hard

From The Sacred Sandwich

Lord, Have Mercy!

No matter where you are in this world, I hope you will join with me and so many other believers in prayer for the millions of people in the eastern U.S. now suffering under the fury of Hurricane Sandy.

Kyrie Eleison - Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy!


Friday, October 26, 2012

More Than Just Alright

A great blog post today from my old friend Jim Wright - A Doobie Brothers' Gospel.
Jesus died on the cross because He accepted me, wholly and completely, just as I am…
So I could die to myself in order to accept Him, wholly and completely, just as He is.

By His Grace, He Bids Us Come and Die

This the true Gospel: Accepting me as I am cost Jesus His life, and accepting Him as He is costs me my life in return.

The mystery of the cross is that we die with Him to find new life in Him – but only on His terms.
But He goes on to say:
The Doobie Brothers were a 1970′s rock band (back in my day!) with a string of hits – including one called “Jesus is Just Alright.”
The main refrain in the song is “Jesus is just alright with me”, and presents Jesus as part of some mutual affirmation society.
Many today preach a Doobie Brothers’ Gospel: They seek affirmation in His grace, but not the discipline of His rule.
But does His grace really affirm us by saying we’re OK?

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Boasting in Weakness

 "A question that my wife often asks me is, “what does it mean to boast in your weaknesses in this situation?” This is a helpful gospel index for me. My default state is not to boast in my weakness. Its not even to feel neutrally about it. Its to fight it, conceal it, and fear its exposure. But this shows the gospel has not gone down deep enough into my heart and subconscious. As I learn to walk with Christ as my confidence, before God and people, I can relax into my responsibilities – my job, for example, or my studies, or my marriage – and trust that whatever God has called me to, He will enable me to do, and His power will shine through my weaknesses. Its not all up to me. My part is to do my best. Christ will fill in the gaps with His presence and power. Walking in the freedom of this is so rarely my daily reality! But even just seeing my need for it is an incentive to worship and pursue it."
From Gavin Ortlund At Soliloquium

Hat Tip: Vitamin Z

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Abortion Questions

The main stream media seem to delight this year in asking "gotcha questions about abortion to pro-life candidates for office.  From Trevin Wax - Here are 10 questions you never hear a pro-choice candidate asked by the media:
1. You say you support a woman’s right to make her own reproductive choices in regards to abortion and contraception. Are there any restrictions you would approve of?
2. In 2010, The Economist featured a cover story on “the war on girls” and the growth of “gendercide” in the world – abortion based solely on the sex of the baby. Does this phenomenon pose a problem for you or do you believe in the absolute right of a woman to terminate a pregnancy because the unborn fetus is female?
3. In many states, a teenager can have an abortion without her parents’ consent or knowledge but cannot get an aspirin from the school nurse without parental authorization. Do you support any restrictions or parental notification regarding abortion access for minors?
4. If you do not believe that human life begins at conception, when do you believe it begins? At what stage of development should an unborn child have human rights?
5. Currently, when genetic testing reveals an unborn child has Down Syndrome, most women choose to abort. How do you answer the charge that this phenomenon resembles the “eugenics” movement a century ago – the slow, but deliberate “weeding out” of those our society would deem “unfit” to live?
6. Do you believe an employer should be forced to violate his or her religious conscience by providing access to abortifacient drugs and contraception to employees?
7. Alveda King, niece of Martin Luther King, Jr. has said that “abortion is the white supremacist’s best friend,” pointing to the fact that Black and Latinos represent 25% of our population but account for 59% of all abortions. How do you respond to the charge that the majority of abortion clinics are found in inner-city areas with large numbers of minorities?
8. You describe abortion as a “tragic choice.” If abortion is not morally objectionable, then why is it tragic? Does this mean there is something about abortion that is different than other standard surgical procedures?
9. Do you believe abortion should be legal once the unborn fetus is viable – able to survive outside the womb?
10. If a pregnant woman and her unborn child are murdered, do you believe the criminal should face two counts of murder and serve a harsher sentence?
 Gee, I wonder why these questions are never asked? Take three guesses.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Money Money Money

Pete Wilson on money and greed as idols (from Empty Promises):
"I've had to learn the hard way that money never wants to be just money in my life. It's always trying to position and manipulate itself into becoming something more..." (pages 95-96)
"That's a lesson I believe we all need when it comes to our money and our lives. We need to learn the joy of letting go. In fact, we probably need to learn it over and over again, to counteract the temptations of idolatry in our lives." (page 103)
"In fact, the only way I know how to fight back against allowing money to become an idol, the only way I know to break the greedy patter of get, get, get in my life, is the one that Jesus taught and modeled for us again and again.
The healthy way to handle money - and any other potential idol in our lives - is to give, give, give, trusting God to provide what we really need." (page 105)

Monday, October 22, 2012

The Mission of Marriage

Saw a good post today at Confluence on the Mission of Marriage.
My guess is that there are a lot of Christians, including Christian leaders, who got married for the wrong reasons. We can all think of one main reason Christians get married; starts with an S and ends with an X. To be fair the Bible is not in opposition to the hurry up offense when it comes to marriage (1 Corinthians 7:9), but at some point, all Christian couples need to come to grips with the mission of Marriage or else a lifetime of disappointment awaits....
 Read it. It's worth the few minutes.

Not Your Body-Two Separate Lives Are Involved

Hat Tip: Here I Blog

Perils of Power

More from Empty Promises by Pete Wilson:
"When any of us allow power to become an idol in our lives, we begin to get our very sense of identity from it. As a result, we'll do everything in our control to cover up any hint of weakness- what ever suggests we're not the commanding in-charge kind of person we want to be." (pages 75-76)
"..a sure sign that my attitude toward power is out of whack is that I'll start doing everything I can to avoid failure." (page 76) 
"It's a decision we all must make - one that especially challenges those of us who lean in the direction of a power idol.
Do we want the perceived power that comes from avoiding failure?
Or do we want the authentic power that comes from Christ when we live and walk humbly with him." (page 77)
"While power may puff up the illusion of control, it does not, in fact, equal more control." (page 81)
"God keeps watch. He does not sleep. (we may not like to admit it, but the universe gets along just fine without us.)....Which means you can let go of your stress, your problems, your anxiety, your insecurity. You don't have to be in charge, because you have a God who has your back. He'll take care of everything, and there's only one thing you have to do.
You have to surrender."  (page 84)

Sunday, October 21, 2012

He Is Our....

"He is our sanctification, as himself being purity, that the pure may be encompassed by his purity.

He is our redemption, because he sets us free who were held captive under sin, giving himself as a ransom for us, the sacrifice to make expiation for the world.

He is our resurrection, because he raises up, and brings to life again, those who were slain by sin."

      - Gregory of Nazianzus (4th Century)

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Billy Graham Statement on the 2012 Election

Hat Tip: Eric Metaxas

You Might Be a Christ Follower If....

....If you live your faith out in daily life. Comedian Jeff Foxworthy talks about his faith:
...“Here’s what I feel like. Rather than going and sitting in a service for an hour every Sunday and that being extent of my faith, it’s more important that I live it out,” Foxworthy said. “I lead a Bible study with homeless guys on Tuesday mornings…I have done it for years.”
The entertainer then went into detail about this unique public service activity, describing the small group as having started with only 15 male participants. Over the years, the Bible study has grown to more than 100 homeless men who are attempting to better their lives.
“If they agree to go through treatment and do well, [the organization running the study] puts them up for a year, takes them through counseling and helps them reunite with their families,” Foxworthy explained.
While he believes wholeheartedly in getting involved in service projects, he also goes to church regularly and relies upon the Bible for guidance in his everyday life. Foxworthy enthusiastically described the importance of the holy book.
“It’s kind of the anchor of the whole thing. It’s kind of what guides me in how to deal with my career, my money,” he explained. “Nothing in life prepared me to have money…I didn’t come from it. Nothing in life prepared me to be quasi-famous...”
Always thought he was a brother. Much more at the link.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Tullian on Fox

Tullian Tchvidjian was on FOX & Friends this morning talking about his new book Glorious Ruin (among other subjects) And yes, they butchered the pronunciation of his name.

Tullian is one of my favorite authors and I consider him one of the most influential Christian leaders in America today. Can't wait to read the new book.

Monday, October 15, 2012

A Wonderful Story

Here's a link to a wonderful story of conversion, baptism and new life, as told by my friend Elysa MacLellan. She, her husband Jim ,and their whole family are living in a mission community (We Will Go Ministries) in inner city Jackson, MS, where they are neighbors to struggling working families, poor folks, the homeless and street people of all types. Jim and Elysa plan to go as missionaries to Africa once Jim retires from his career as an engineer.

I highly recommend Elysa's inspiring, challenging and often humorous blog, Musings from Graceland. Try it, you'll like it!

Marks of Healthy Small Groups

Rick Warren on Healthy Small Groups:
1. Healthy small groups study the Bible. Small groups in the New Testament studied the Bible together. Acts 2:42 says, “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching …” Of course, we know the teaching of the apostles is what we call the New Testament today. They lived in an oral culture, but they were still studying lessons from the apostles....
2. Healthy small groups share life together. The Book of Acts says the early believers were devoted to fellowship (Acts 2:42). This means they were serious about their friendships. Notice the Bible says they were devoted to the fellowship, not just to fellowship. In other words, fellowship is not just something the church does; we are the fellowship.Jesus calls us to be committed to one another, and it is through small groups that we learn the skills of relationship. Small groups are laboratories of love, where we learn to obey the command of Jesus to love your neighbor as you love yourself.
3. Healthy small groups remember Jesus together. The Bible says the early believers devoted themselves “to the breaking of bread and to prayer” (Acts 2:42). The “breaking of bread” in this passage specifically refers to Communion (or the Lord’s Supper). In the early Church, they did not take Communion in a large worship setting. They served it in small groups.
4. Healthy small groups pray together. The Bible says the early believers devoted themselves to prayer (Acts 2:42). Jesus taught that there is a power to prayers spoken aloud for each other, and he made an incredible promise about small groups of believers: “For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst” (Matthew 18:20 NASB). In the intimacy and confidentiality of small groups, we can pray for each other as we share our hurts, reveal our feelings, confess our failures, disclose our doubts, admit our fears, acknowledge our weaknesses, and ask for help.
5. Healthy small groups are generous. The Bible says these small groups gave “to anyone who had need” (Acts 2:45 NIV). Small groups allow us to help each other with practical needs. Can I loan you a car? Can I provide you with some meals when you are sick.
6. Healthy small groups worship together. The Bible says the New Testament small groups worshiped together, “praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people” (Acts 2:47). We need to worship God more than once a week, and small groups offer an opportunity to worship together.
7. Healthy small groups witness together. As these small groups met together, “the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved” (Acts 2:47). They were inviting others to join them. One of the proofs of a healthy small group is that it reproduces, so a small group may add members, but a small group may also help start another small group.
I cut out some material specific to Warren's Saddleback Church. You can read the whole thing at the link.

Hat Tip: Rick Ianniello

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Pray for Your Church

Yesterday I linked to an article about how to pray for your pastor. Here's one about Five Ways to Pray for Your Church.
One of the most important ways faithful followers of Christ can help their churches is to simply pray for them. We are inundated with criticism, instruction, debate over church practice and theology, but we often fail to pray. If you're wondering how you can make your local church better, here are five areas where it needs prayer: 

Read the list at the link.

Vertical Identity

“Either you will be getting your identity vertically, from who you are in Christ, or you will be shopping for it horizontally in the situations, experiences, and relationships of your daily life.”

              -Paul Tripp, Dangerous Calling, p. 22.

Hat Tip: Cross-Eyed

Monday, October 8, 2012

Journeyman on Facebook

You can also follow this blog on Facebook at:

Would love to see you there also!

Twitter Gleanings

Gleanings from my Twitter feed:
If you live for the approval of others, you'll die with their rejection.
RT : If you give beyond your ability, God will bless you beyond your ability. Mark Batterson
RT @bcloritts  "Holiness hardly ever becomes a reality until we care more about Jesus than about holiness"- Steve Brown, A Scandalous Freedom
RT : Primary goal of spiritual leadership: Take people from where try are now to where God wants them to be.
RT : Divine detours often get us where God wants us to go. Mark Batterson
RT : We are all always worshiping something or someone. And we will become like what we worship.
RT : God is in the business of replacing our ladders with his cross.
RT @TimTebow "Happy moments, praise God. Difficult moments, seek God. Quiet moments, worship God. Painful moments, trust God. Every moment, THANK GOD."
RT : "The mark of a great church is not its seating capacity, but its sending capacity." Mike Stachura
RT : Gospel doctrine + gospel culture = a church marked by human beauty. Makes the truth believable, accessible.
RT : The cross is the best and quickest summary of what God says to unworthy people. - Ed Welch 

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Approval Addiction

Quotes on "Approval Addiction " from Empty Promises by Pete Wilson:
"...approval addiction is the process of looking to people or relationships to provide the love, acceptance, and validation that should come from God.
And that , of course, is idolatry." - Page 51
"Approval addicts are destined for a life of mediocrity because they always have to follow the herd - and that's the very opposite of what Christ calls us to do....
....If you depend on other people approving or supporting everything you say or do, you will end up doing and saying nothing. You will be handcuffed to mediocrity." - pages 56-57
Approval addiction is essentially an act of self-abandonment. Instead of finding your value and worth from your Creator, you have given your heart up for adoption. You have given it away to others for love and approval, making them responsible for your feelings...Depending on anyone other than God for fundamental validation is just asking for heartbreak." - page 58
"Your worth and value aren't determined by anyone's love and acceptance except for God's. And God's love and acceptance is already guaranteed. If you look to him for love and approval, you sill never be rejected." - page 61
Have I mentioned that I like this book?

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Empty Promises

Video Trailer for Pete Wilsons book Empty Promises: The Truth About You, Your Desires, and the Lies You're Believing

Unshakable Position

I'm enjoying Pete Wilson's newest book. Here's some good stuff!
"" goal these to transition from a success-based identity to a position-based identity.

What is a position-based identity? It means that instead of gathering self-worth externally - from achievement - we try to receive it internally. We begin to understand that self-worth comes from who we are in Christ, not what we accomplish in this world...

...Positional-based identity doesn't come from your performance or from anyone else's evaluation of your performance. Rather, positional-based identity comes from how you feel about your position in Christ...

...Is the root of your identity in the truth that right now you are loved?
Do you believe that right now you are accepted, that right now you are enough because you are the beloved child of the King?

Basing your identity on that reality is the only way to treat an achievement addiction. It's the only way to tear down the ladder and destroy the treadmill of achievement and success. Because if you do that, your life will be rooted in something that cannot be shaken."

 - Pete Wilson, Empty Promises: The Truth About You, Your Desires, and the Lies You're Believing, pages 42-45

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

In Christ and the Neighbor

The Christian lives not in himself, but in Christ and the neighbor. He lives in Christ through faith and in his neighbor through love.

           –Martin Luther, Freedom of the Christian 1520.

Hat Tip: Liberate

Why Does God Allow Evil?

Wisdom from Tim Keller:

God only allows Satan to accomplish the very opposite of what he wants to accomplish. He only gives Satan enough rope to hang himself…God hates evil. He’s against it. He didn’t create a world in which evil existed. But He permits it. Why? He permits Satan only to bring evil into Job’s life in such a way, in such an amount, that actually completely defeats Satan’s real intention. Satan is only allowed by God to actually defeat himself and achieve the very opposite of what he wanted.
…He permits evil and suffering to come into your life only to the degree that it defeats the actual intention of Satan for you. Only to the degree that it makes you a great person. Only to the degree that it actually defeats itself.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Internship for the Eschaton

I collected the following quotes from Twitter highlights of Dr. Russell Moore's message at this years Desiring God National Conference. Wonderful stuff!
"Preaching is expository exorcism."
"When we gather together to hear God's word preached we are hearing a plea sent down from Jesus himself."
"In our little congregational meetings we are seeing the kingdom of God uprooting another kingdom."
"The King of the kingdom is the one who defines those who are received into the kingdom."

"Your vote on receiving a new member into your congregation is more significant than your vote for a US president."
"Your life in the local church is just an internship for the eschaton."
I don't know if I've gotten these quotes in the order of the original message. Sure sounds like it was a good one - filled with an understanding of the Gospel of the Kingdom!