Monday, August 11, 2008
Thanks so much to all of you (close to 1300) who checked out the blog over the past year. I've received emails from viewers from Philly to L.A. It was a lot of fun and very cathartic. The new blogs will be even better.
Thanks again and God bless!
Friday, August 8, 2008
Thursday, August 7, 2008
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
The greatest Bible in the world is the English Standard Version (In my mind, I sound a little like Will Ferrell as Ron Burgandy when I say that) and the study Bible hits bookstores this October BUT if you just can't wait (and who can????) then you can download the entire audio version of the Gospel of John over at Crossway (the 2nd greatest publisher in the world next to Banner of Truth).
If you are a core group member of Revolution then you should know that if God blesses our new church then I'll be preaching through the Gospel of John starting in January with the able help of Pastor Dave Dunham. Link is here. http://www.crossway.org/catalog/download.audio.bibles
Also, check out Eron Elswick's latest post ("Is Jesus Crazy?") over at the Revolution blog.
I get asked the question from a lot of church people, "why are you planting a new church?" The question assumes that all existing churches need to do is institute a new program or offer a different kind of service but study after study demonstrates that the unchurched and the dechurched will not enter existing churches for various reasons. Thus, the most effective way to reach both the lost and those that loathe the church is to plant a new church and that is why Revolution kicks off August 31st. Now, if we just find a building to hold it in...
Before I forget, be sure to check out Dave Dunham's new post over at the Revolution blog:
Monday, August 4, 2008
Friday, August 1, 2008
Thursday, July 31, 2008
Later today, check out my bro Justin Clark's post on what you can do to help Revolution. Link is below. Be sure to make it one of your favorites.
Ryan Rolfe, leader of the World's Most Dangerous Praise Band, will post tomorrow.
Revolution launches August 31st in Portsmouth, Ohio at a location to be disclosed later.
Check back soon for updates.
Finally, many of you know that I think it is largely a waste of time to read most of the stuff that Christian book publishers are pushing these days. I've already begged and pleaded with you to put down McLaren and Bell and dig into a good Bible, like the ESV Literary Study Bible, or something that will help you better study your Bible like Fee and Stuart's "How To Read The Bible For All Its Worth."
May I also humbly recommend anything and everything by John Piper. Even Rob Bell writes in a footnote in Velvet Elvis that everyone should read everything by Piper!
The good news is that many of Piper's books are online for free! Go to Desiring God (http://www.desiringgod.org/) and click on "Resource Library" and look to the left for "online books." I recommend that you start with the modern classic "Desiring God" and then peruse "What Jesus Demands From The World" and "Don't Waste Your Life" but its all good and its all free.
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Monday, July 28, 2008
Friday, July 25, 2008
Thursday, July 24, 2008
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Okay, so you go out and buy a good Bible (ESV or NLT) and you dig in only to discover that you don't know what in the frick is going on. I mean, you get over the talking donkey and some dude opening a can with the jawbone of an ass (don't send me emails that's a quote from ye ole King James Version) but then you get into the prophets and really weird crap is happening and you read the Gospels but you can't figure out who Jesus is pronouncing judgment upon and then you get to the book of Revelation and you haven't heard anything like it since your roommate in college rambled on after hitting his wizard shaped bong and a VHS copy of Fantasia. So if the Bible is God's inspired word then what do you do?
Fortunately there are number of great resources available to help a dedicated Christian study Scripture without chucking a spaz. I recommend "How To Read The Bible For All It's Worth" by Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart. The little book gives Christians an overview of each applicable ancient genre contained in Scripture so that they can better understand their Bible.
However, if you really want to dig in deep then I recommend "Grasping God's Word" by Duvall and Hays, which is a great textbook designed for Bible college students.
So, if you are dedicated and willing to let your geek flag flythen buy one or both and be the first kid on your block to actually understand what the @#!* the book of Daniel is about.
Sunday, July 20, 2008
I went to seminary at Abilene Christian University which is a strange place. It is a church of Christ school which was birthed as a sectarian fundamentalist Bible college but has now become a left leaning, emergent friendly place with a serious case of Duke, SMU, Harvard, Yale, Princeton envy. I knew that when I was there and when I left the place as a little emergent neo-neo orthodox pastor but I hoped that it would change. I love the faculty there and hoped and prayed that they would repent of following mainstream denominations and seminaries into the land of blur.
But this past week I received my quarterly alumni newsletter focusing on the seminaries upcoming lectureship (a huge deal to the folks at ACU) only to discover that the featured speaker is none other then Brian Mclaren...Brian friggin' Mclaren!!! The ex-Jesus Freak hippie who, with the help of Doug Pagitt, shifted the "conversation" among the Gen-X pastors of the Young Leaders Network from how to reach the lost among the Gen-X and Gen-Y crowd to how to jettison 2000 years of orthodox Christianity.
Now this is a really strange turn for ACU because it prides itself (to a sinful degree, in my estimation) on its rigid academic standards and here it is inviting a self-confessed "non-theologian" with no seminary training and a flair for poorly argued positions to highlight their most cherished event.
After I left ACU with my M.Div. in 2001, I was a Mclaren, Bell, Grenz, Barth, N.T. Wright Emergent. I preached nice little "God loves you, so recycle" sermons and fed my congregations' worst instincts wrapped in a nice liberal, feel-good package that ignored the holiness of God, the sinfulness of man and the need for substitutionary atonement. Yet, despite hours of prayer, fasting and "conversations" about such "deep thinkers" as Brueggemann and Moltmann I was an absolute miserable mess. It was only after God took me, smacked me around and introduced me to the Gospel preached by Spurgeon, Jonathan Edwards, Augustine and...well...the Apostle Paul that I found true peace.
So, after staring at Mclaren's mug in my alumni mag, losing my mind and repenting (a few times) I will start praying that ACU either truly turn from leading students down the same liberal, narcissistic path it led me or that God will move to close its doors before it does too much harm.
Saturday, July 19, 2008
Why Revolution? Frankly we will be the only missional church in the area in so far as it understands that we are living in a post-modern, post-Christian, post-"you name it age." That's why.
Friday, July 18, 2008
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Monday, July 14, 2008
Sunday, July 13, 2008
First, there are the Pharisees who, while knowing in some sense that grace precedes and accompanies election, still easily lapsed into harsh legalism in the hopes of earning God's favor once again. The Pharisees were not unlike many within evangelicalism today who think of the faith in terms of exchange, whether its the Joel Osteens & purple haired freaks on Trinity who preach that if you show up in church and get the right attitude then God owes you a paycheck or the meanspirited King James only folks who believe that if we just all stop cussing, drinking beer and watching "Superbad" then God will reward our country with full employment, G-rated movies and women folk who know how to cook, clean and keep their gob shut.
Friday, July 11, 2008
Josh Harris' younger bros are on the road as part of the "Rebelution" Tour promoting their book "Do Hard Things." I have heard nothing but great things about the tour and the book. Finally, a full on push by many evangelical leaders to transform student ministries from holy babysitting which treat teens like horny little retards with "lessons" consisting of lots of "don't or else" to actually challenging them on every level--about friggin' time!
Thursday, July 10, 2008
My blog freaked out last night and I'm too busy preparing for a trip to New York to deal with it or to really post but here is the trailer to the forthcoming documentary "The Ordinary Radicals."
I strongly disagree with a lot of what Shane Claiborne says and does but I do admire the guy for living out his convictions. If nothing else, this forthcoming documentary about folks like Claiborne, who are attempting to follow hard after Jesus, should be interesting.
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
I just discovered from Justin Taylor's Blog, which is one of the few blogs worth reading every day, that the Gospel Coalition's web page is now up and running (thegospelcoalition.org) with a lot of goodies for doctrine dorks like me.
Included are free audio downloads from board members like the great New Testament scholar D.A. Carson (whom I'm looking forward to hearing in person in a few weeks at Xenos in Columbus), information on their Christ on Campus Initiative and Themelios, a free on-line journal that looks very promising.
The Gospel Coalition's Preamble is worth reading and is copied below in full:
We are a fellowship of evangelical churches deeply committed to renewing our faith in the gospel of Christ and to reforming our ministry practices to conform fully to the Scriptures. We have become deeply concerned about some movements within traditional evangelicalism that seem to be diminishing the church’s life and leading us away from our historic beliefs and practices. On the one hand, we are troubled by the idolatry of personal consumerism and the politicization of faith; on the other hand, we are distressed by the unchallenged acceptance of theological and moral relativism. These movements have led to the easy abandonment of both biblical truth and the transformed living mandated by our historic faith. We not only hear of these influences, we see their effects. We have committed ourselves to invigorating churches with new hope and compelling joy based on the promises received by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.
We believe that in many evangelical churches a deep and broad consensus exists regarding the truths of the gospel. Yet we often see the celebration of our union with Christ replaced by the age-old attractions of power and affluence, or by monastic retreats into ritual, liturgy, and sacrament. What replaces the gospel will never promote a mission-hearted faith anchored in enduring truth working itself out in unashamed discipleship eager to stand the tests of kingdom-calling and sacrifice. We desire to advance along the King’s highway, always aiming to provide gospel advocacy, encouragement, and education so that current- and next-generation church leaders are better equipped to fuel their ministries with principles and practices that glorify the Savior and do good to those for whom he shed his life’s blood.
We want to generate a unified effort among all peoples—an effort that is zealous to honor Christ and multiply his disciples, joining in a true coalition for Jesus. Such a biblically grounded and united mission is the only enduring future for the church. This reality compels us to stand with others who are stirred by the conviction that the mercy of God in Jesus Christ is our only hope of eternal salvation. We desire to champion this gospel with clarity, compassion, courage, and joy—gladly linking hearts with fellow believers across denominational, ethnic, and class lines.
Our desire is to serve the church we love by inviting all of our brothers and sisters to join us in an effort to renew the contemporary church in the ancient gospel of Christ so that we truly speak and live for him in a way that clearly communicates to our age. We intend to do this through the ordinary means of his grace: prayer, the ministry of the Word, baptism and the Lord’s supper, and the fellowship of the saints. We yearn to work with all who, in addition to embracing the confession and vision set out here, seek the lordship of Christ over the whole of life with unabashed hope in the power of the Holy Spirit to transform individuals, communities, and cultures. You will find attached both our Confessional Statement and our Theological Vision for Ministry—a vision rooted in the Scriptures and centered on the gospel.So, check it out and, if possible, donate some $ to a worthy group. I plan to do so.
Monday, July 7, 2008
My seminary profs, along with many emergent leaders, predicted that the discipline of apologetics, i.e., the rational defense of the Christian faith, was dying a quick death.
Yet, Christianity Today reports that apologetic conferences are hotter than the hinges on the gates of hell and that seminaries are turning away students in droves seeking to earn degrees in the subject. So much for my profs' prophetic vision!
This month arch apologist Dr. William Lane Craig released his 3rd edition of the modern classic "Reasonable Faith" while Dr. Tim Keller's book "The Reason for God" is still flying off the shelves. Do yourself a favor and pick-up both. Also check out the audio resources at bethinking.org and Dr. Craig's new youtube channel featuring many of his debates with prominent atheist scholars (search for drcraigvideos). Enjoy.
Friday, July 4, 2008
The small progress we have made after 4 or five weeks close attendance & continual reasonings with each other -- our different sentiments on almost every question, several of the last producing as many noes as ays, is methinks a melancholy proof of the imperfection of the Human Understanding. We indeed seem to feel our own wont of political wisdom, since we have been running about in search of it. We have gone back to ancient history for models of government, and examined the different forms of those Republics which having been formed with the seeds of their own dissolution now no longer exist. And we have viewed Modern States all round Europe, but find none of their Constitutions suitable to our circumstances.
In this situation of this Assembly groping as it were in the dark to find political truth, and scarce able to distinguish it when to us, how has it happened, Sir, that we have not hitherto once thought of humbly applying to the Father of lights to illuminate our understandings? In the beginning of the contest with G. Britain, when we were sensible of danger we had daily prayer in this room for the Divine Protection. -- Our prayers, Sir, were heard, and they were graciously answered. All of us who were engaged in the struggle must have observed frequent instances of a Superintending providence in our favor. To that kind providence we owe this happy opportunity of consulting in peace on the means of establishing our future national felicity. And have we now forgotten that powerful friend? or do we imagine that we no longer need His assistance.
I have lived, Sir, a long time and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth -- that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid? We have been assured, Sir, in the sacred writings that "except the Lord build they labor in vain that build it." I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without his concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better than the Builders of Babel: We shall be divided by our little partial local interests; our projects will be confounded, and we ourselves shall be become a reproach and a bye word down to future age. And what is worse, mankind may hereafter this unfortunate instance, despair of establishing Governments by Human Wisdom, and leave it to chance, war, and conquest.
I therefore beg leave to move -- that henceforth prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven, and its blessings on our deliberations, be held in this Assembly every morning before we proceed to business, and that one or more of the Clergy of this City be requested to officiate in that service.
Thursday, July 3, 2008
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
I received like the 50th email on "The Shack." I haven't read it. Don't know if I'll have time to read it but here is Driscoll on it. Would also read Challies review as it seems to encompass both the praise and criticisms I've heard from Christians of all stripes.
Monday, June 30, 2008
2) The Revolution core group will continue to meet through the summer but now the meetings will be weekly rather than bi-monthly. A group will meet this Friday to cook out and watch the fireworks. Anyone is welcome to attend even if you are only "kicking the tires" and aren't sure if you really want to jump in with a bunch of loud, puritan punkers. Let me know if you want to attend this week or in the weeks to come (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I'll get you directions, times, etc. Among the plans for the next few weeks will be a showing of the documentary "Lord, Save Us From Your Followers."
Saturday, June 28, 2008
so what must we do
because what you do to the least of these
Friday, June 27, 2008
Thursday, June 26, 2008
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
I do not want to dismiss the authors’ concerns, but it’s hard for me to take them seriously when they so grossly overstate things.Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy provocative books. I want others to challenge me and force me to re-think my practices and beliefs. The problem for me is that the book reads more like an ecclesiological version of the Loose Change conspiracy theories concerning the 9/11 attack. A lot of information is collected, assumptions are made, and in the end the final interpretation of history is simply wrong. Not only does their attempt to uncover the truth fail, but more importantly I fear their legit concerns will be ignored by many while others will read the book as gospel because it presents itself as unquestionable history with Barna’s research seal of approval.