Monday, February 28, 2011

Bob Dylan's 1st Grammy Award

iMonk Classic: Those Magnificent Young Men In Their Pastoring Machines (1)

Insight about ministry from a keen observer. I have found myself on both sides of most of the issues he raises. Truth be told, ministry is rapidly changing as is the rest of life and culture. Pastoral Ministry is not what it was 5o, 30, 20, 10 or even 5 years ago. It barely resembles what it was 1 year ago. What is essential in Pastoral Ministry (any type of church staff position) is an awareness of where your people are and rich understanding of the truth of the gospel. I am grateful to be part of a church staff that does both of these well!
iMonk Classic: Those Magnificent Young Men In Their Pastoring Machines (1)

Rob Bell's Upcoming Book on Heaven & Hell Stirs Blog, Twitter Backlash on Universalism | Liveblog | Christianity Today

Is this a publicity push/stunt or theological debate gone bad? In my own estimation, Bell has always been willing to push the envelope theologically, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. Perhaps the best thing I or anyone else can do is wait and read the full book and see what Bell really says.
Rob Bell's Upcoming Book on Heaven & Hell Stirs Blog, Twitter Backlash on Universalism | Liveblog | Christianity Today

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Following Jesus

Our family cat, Sarah, loves to stay right up under your feet sometimes, not unlike small children. Usually Sarah does this when she wants something (food, milk, attention). It occurred to me that God longs for us to follow him the way our family pets do. God's intention is for us to follow closely, to stay in tune with what he is doing in our world and in our lives. Jesus, called the first disciples, "Come and follow me." So too, he beckons you and me to follow him, wherever he leads us, even when we don't know where that is or how to get there...he does!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Absolute Lewis

"All the essentials of Hinduism would, I think, remain unimpaired if you subtracted the miraculous, and the same is almost true of Mohammedanism. But you cannot do that with Christianity. It is precisely the story of a great Miracle. A naturalistic Christianity leaves out all that is specifically Christian."

C.S. Lewis has such an incredible gift with language. This quote reminds me that Christianity is not about miracles from ages past or for the future, rather it is about the one true miracle that has forever changed your life and mine, the incarnation!

Hidden In Plain Sight by Mark Buchanan

I finished reading Mark Buchanan's book, Hidden in Plain Sight on our Winter Retreat last week. What a great book. He has a pastor's heart with journalist's writing style. His writing is similar to Philip Yancey in that it is investigative, authentic and transparent. Buchanan spends time taking apart a portion of Peter's 2nd letter in the New Testament. Two quotes particularly struck me as insightful.

"Dogmatics is useful thread for stitching together our patchwork ideas about God. But it's terrible suture for a broken heart" (91). I don't know that I really believed that as a college student and later as a seminary student or even early in ministry during those years. Looking back I would have said with out the theological dogma we can't have healing in our lives. After journeying through different scenarios with people and in my personal life I would whole-heartedly echo this sentiment. We cannot as Christians throw dogma out the window, but we can't go around using it as a salve to heal the brokenness of our lives and the world around us. Really the dogmatics, the particulars of theology must be in place although we can't ever fully grasp the depth and breadth of the mind of God, so that we can offer to others the healing, the hope, the full life promised in Jesus Christ and his life, death, and resurrection. Theology divorced from compassion is useless! Compassion divorced from theology often leads us to heresy! Our goal should be to have a theological framework in place so that it informs our opportunities for ministry in our daily lives so that ultimate healing can begin. The modern day image that pops into my mind is the band-aids with Neosporin already on the bandage so that healing and treatment is readily available.
"I think Peter discovered that the love of Christ frees us to love, not only the least of these and most of these and worst of these, but also and just as much the most-taken-for-granted of these. Who are often our own children. Our own spouse.
In Christ, love comes full circle. It not only reaches heaven's glories, stoops to Sheol's blackness, extends to the outermost ends of the earth. It also turns the heart toward home, so that the wife of your youth becomes the queen of your days and the love of your life. And only then do our prayers get heard" (195).

I am approaching 11 years of marriage and 15 years of being together with my beautiful wife...I can honestly say that I love her more now than I did then. The love of Christ compels us is how the Apostle Paul put it. The love of Christ, the love of the savior for me and for her is what compels our love to grow to mature to never be satisfied with how we use to look at each other or treat each other, but always be looking for ways to know each other deeper, more intimately in light of the truth of the gospel. For me that means that Christ is always willing to forgive and love us deeply, then shouldn't I for my wife and children. Shouldn't my heart's cry be to lay down my life for them in the same way that Christ did for his bride, the church? I do not get it right half the time, but even then, grace is present in our relationship because of the foundation! My campus minister in college use to always tells us that the greatest potential for ministry is staring us in the face in our homes (spouse, children, parents, etc.). It's always a good reminder to me that no matter how much I love my students, parents, and greatest opportunity for ministry comes when I walk in the doors of my home!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

High School Winter Retreat 2011

We are nearing the end of day 2 of our High School Winter Retreat and I can honestly say that it has been an incredible week so far. We had safe travel and a safe day with no injuries on the slopes. the one negative setback was having to move meeting room space because the band was "too loud". All in all it has been a great couple of days as our group has grown closer to God and each other.

Our theme this week is Old School: Liars, Murders, and Thieves. We have been looking at the lives of some of the characters from the Old Testament. The worship time has been really cool and God is working in the lives of our students.

Have I mentioned lately that I love what I do? I love working with students and seeing them come alive for Jesus!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Friday Night Movie Night

Friday night movie night didn't go quite how Cyd and I planned this past weekend, but it wasn't a total wash. DVD player (less than a year old) wouldn't cooperate so we had family movie night on Saturday morning! Despicable Me was a humorous animated film, not quite as good as I thought it would be but we had a great time snuggling on the couch watching it...then Valentine pancakes for breakfast. The only problem is, now Charlotte only wants pink pancakes!

Friday, February 4, 2011


I discovered the music of Amos Lee last week through iTunes. His song "Violin" was a free download last week and I haven't been able to get it out of my mind. It is captivating, dark, mysterious, yet hopeful. He falls into that singer/songwriter genre that I love so much. In fact, I let one of my students listen in my office and she said, that sounds like your kind of music.
Below is a live version. I will definitely be revisiting this song and the music of Amos Lee in the future.

An Interesting Blog

So one of my former students, Bethany started a new blog that promises to be exciting. I really think you should check it out at 

Go ahead, you know you want to!

The Most Redeeming Films of 2010 | Movies & TV | Christianity Today

A great list of movies! I haven't seen all of them, but I have seen Toy Story 3 and Book of Eli. Both films are exceptional for different reasons
The Most Redeeming Films of 2010 | Movies & TV | Christianity Today

The Best Albums of 2010 | Music | Christianity Today

Great review from Christianity Today about top albums this year. There are some great picks on here for sure.
The Best Albums of 2010 | Music | Christianity Today

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Proper Utensils

2 Timothy 2:20-22 (New Living Translation)

 20 In a wealthy home some utensils are made of gold and silver, and some are made of wood and clay. The expensive utensils are used for special occasions, and the cheap ones are for everyday use. 21 If you keep yourself pure, you will be a special utensil for honorable use. Your life will be clean, and you will be ready for the Master to use you for every good work.
 22 Run from anything that stimulates youthful lusts. Instead, pursue righteous living, faithfulness, love, and peace. Enjoy the companionship of those who call on the Lord with pure hearts.

This was the passage I taught from tonight. I must admit, that I never teach or preach without the passage God has given me doing a number on my heart and life first. I once heard Alistair Begg say that this was a necessary step for any preacher of the gospel. Tonight's text has made me reexamine my own heart and life to see if I am really ready to make the decisions that are necessary for God to be honored in my life, for God to use me to touch people around me in a uniquely God shaped way.

My prayer is that I will even more run from the temptations that surround us as believers and pursue God, pursue love, peace, and righteousness. There is a desperation I sense in Paul's a singer unleash his heart through a song, anticipating a response from his audience. How will you and I respond to God's call of purity and holiness.