Showing posts from November, 2011

What If Tim Tebow Was a Muslim?

This is a great article pointing out the hypocrisy of people who rip Tim Tebow for his faith and public profession of it.  I really like the way the journalist points out that Tebow's displays of faith make non-Christians uncomfortable, and how badly people want Tebow to screw up so they can put away the idea that there really is a God who is with his people.  
What if Tim Tebow were a Muslim?  Imagine for a second, the Denver Broncos quarterback is a devout follower of Islam, sincere and principled in his beliefs and thus bowed toward Mecca to celebrate touchdowns.  Now imagine if Detroit Lions players Stephen Tulloch and Tony Scheffler mockingly bowed toward Mecca, too, after tackling him for a loss or scoring a touchdown, just like what happened Sunday.  I know what would happen. All hell would break loose.  .....  I could not figure out what was causing this onslaught of venom for a guy almost everybody claims to like, and I finally decided it is more about us.  He makes us…

Does the Walmart Employee Really Need to Say Merry Christmas?

People have strong feelings about others inserting "Happy holidays" for the words "Merry Christmas."  Many Christians believe the move towards holidays instead of Christmas is just another sign that our country (which they believe is Christian) is headed into deeper sinfulness and atheistic thought.  There is some connection in people's mind about the usage of term "Merry Christmas" in secular school and businesses, and the spiritual state of our country.

I think Pastor Jared Wilson has some insight that should be considered on this topic.  Here's a snippet of his thoughts.  Read his whole post for greater understanding.
I submit that "Merry Christmas" as an empty cliche is equally Christless to "Happy Holidays." And in fact we ought to reckon the perfunctory "Merry Christmas" as more offensive than a cheerful "Happy Holidays," not less.Why? Because God commands us to revere his name and keep it holy. I don&…

Driscoll on Abortion

"Now, here's why we are a pro-life church: because God is a pro-life God. I'll make this as clean as I can. See, the main reason why you would be pro-choice is, you want to have sex outside of marriage, not be obligated to that child, and so you would rather murder them than repent. It's really not that complicated. Some people say, “Oh, there's minority cases for rape and incest.” Let's just talk about the vast majority of cases. Let's deal with all of that and maybe we can quibble over some of the complicated details and other scenarios.

But that's life, life nonetheless, and we're pro-life, I'm prolife nonetheless. What we see here is, God says there's a baby in Elizabeth's womb. You're going to read this coming up in the next few weeks, that the baby leapt in the womb of a mother. That same word for “baby” is the same word for “children” who gather around Jesus later and sing “Hosanna, Hosanna!” So, the baby in the womb is the …

Monday Mind Dump

- I have a sermon to give on Sunday and I can't get any leading where to go or how to get the thing started.
- The church I preach at is 40 people tops and yet every Sunday feels like the World Series for me.
- Weeks when I'm preaching are an emotional roller-coaster.  Spiritual attacks?  I feel so mentally drained.
- Worst part is...I can't turn down preaching ops.  Feel like it is central to my gifts, passion, calling.
- Got an email last Tuesday encouraging me to turn in an app for a pastor position in OR.  Been wrestling with that all week.
- Drives you crazy looking for signs from God about what path to take.  You find contradictory stuff everywhere.  The mind games you play with yourself are intense.
- Have to focus forward but some weeks its hard not to dwell on everything wrong decisions in the past have cost.
- Instead I need to praise Jesus for the growth and the development.  My concern needs to be on my own journey, not the journey of others.
- It is hard not…

Trust and Submit to the Lord

Yesterday I attended Eagle Brook Church with my brothers.  It was fun to go to church with them, and I enjoyed the vibe and buzz at the Blaine Eagle Brook Campus.  The verse that the sermon (sermon series called Inked: Direction) was centered on was Proverbs 3:5-6,
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. The pastor shared some insightful word about this text, and I left with a lot on my mind about trusting the Lord, submitting to him, and allowing him to direct my steps in the face of my fears.

Amazingly, the very same verse was mentioned during church this morning at Rejoice Church.  I really don't know what God is trying to teach me right now, but I am doing my best to discern it.  If you read this and would't mind saying a prayer for me that'd be awesome.

Consumerism v. Generosity at Christmas

Great thoughts on consumerism v. generosity at Christmas.
One of my concerns is that programs like Advent Conspiracy or even rhetoric meant to shame Black Friday shoppers become ways materialistic Christian suburbanites do penance for their year-long accumulation. But year-end rebuke of consumerism doesn't mitigate consumerism the rest of the year. Instead -- and how's this for a novel concept? -- let's just be generous people, year-round.  There's nothing wrong with giving gifts to friends and family. There's nothing wrong with even buying those gifts, rather than making them. And there's nothing wrong with trying to save money when buying those gifts. Gift-giving is good, and so is saving money on gifts you were going to buy anyway. Flee consumerism this holiday season. But flee also smug abstention.  (HT: Jared Wilson)

The Work of a Pastor is Difficult

A good word from Jared Wilson, posted by Justin Buzzard,
The work of a pastor is difficult. Very few Christians lose sleep over the state of their church, the spiritual health of the body, the collective faithfulness or unfaithfulness of the congregation. But pastors do. This is something very few people who aren’t pastors can understand, isn’t it? While pastors carry the weight of their own struggles, and likely the weight of the struggles of their friends and family, they also carry the weight of the struggles of an entire church. They are responsible for more; they are accountable for much. -Jared Wilson, Gospel Wakefulness, p. 192.

A Good Word About the Role Youth Pastors

I love these words about Youth Pastors from Mark Batterson,
Just so we’re clear: It’s not your job to disciple my kids. That’s my job as a parent.  But I’m so grateful that I have someone to tag-team with.  There are times that my kids need a “third-party” to say what I’ve been saying their entire life.  They won’t hear me, but they might hear you. So go ahead and dress cool and act cool.  Pull the all-night events and pull crazy stunts.  Laugh with the kids like crazy!  But don’t forget that you are first and foremost a prophet in the life of my child.  That’s what matters.  Don’t cower before a politically-correct culture.  Speak the truth boldly, lovingly, prophetically.  Get in their face. Get in their life.  Challenge them to dream big and pray hard.  They are capable of far more than we can imagine!

Parents: Time is Short with Your Kids So Don't Waste It

How do I maximize the time I have with my kids?

This is a question I think I will need to revisit over and over again now that all three of my kids are in school full-time.  Between school, my job, and all our other family commitments I have a pretty small window of opportunity to invest in the development of my kids.  I think this means I have to be all the more intentional in the spaces I still have.  And I have to work extremely hard at making sure I don't waste precious time by being angry, anxious, distracted, exhausted, or into other things.

Here's a few things I can do to invest in my kids:

- help with their homework
- read with them
- let them help prepare meals
- occasional Daddy dates
- turn down the radio and talk in the car
- coach their team
- volunteer at their school
- play sports with them instead of watching on TV
- put away the smart phone
- do chores together: room pick-up, clothes put away
- bring them with me on errands

The window of time I have as the pri…

The Word of the Lord Remains Forever

For the past couple weeks I have been completed infatuated with the Bible.  I mean to say - I’ve been like a kid who just secured his first date, who for the next week can think of nothing else than the girl he’s going to the movies with on Friday.  I’ve been thinking of verses during the day, reading books about the Bible, sharing Scriptures with me wife, listening to Bible saturated preaching on my iPod - I’ve just been completely enamored by the greatness of God’s Word.

One book I read last week is called “Our Bible: How We Got It.” (Charles Leach, copyright 1898) In the book the story is told of William Tyndale, the man responsible for some of the very fist English translations of the Bible.  Tyndale gave almost his entire life in the pursuit of translating Scripture so that the English commoners could read and love the Book he so greatly loved.  

However, not everyone liked the idea of expanding access to the Bible, and so enemies of Tyndale chastised him, rounded up his Bibles an…

Things the Bible says About Itself

The Bible is.....
- sweeter like honey (Ps 119:03)
- everlasting (1 Peter 1:25)
- upright (Ps 33:4)
- truth (Ps 119:160)
- fruitful (Is 55:11)
- living and active (Heb 4:12)
- reliable (2 Sam 22:31; Pr 30:5)

What is the role of the Bible...

- teach (2 Tim 3:16)
- reprove (2 Tim 3:16)
- correct (2 Tim 3:16)
- train (2 Tim 3:16)
- rebuke (2 Tim 4:2)
- exhort (2 Tim 4:2)
- save (Rom 10:17; 1 Cor 15:2; Jn 5:24)
- give life (Deut 8:3, Mt 4:4)
- guards our purity (Ps 119:9)
- protects from sin (Ps 119:11)
- strengthens (Ps 119:28)
- guides our steps (Ps 119:105)
- points direction (Ps 119:105)
- reveals God’s will (Is 55:11)
- sanctifies (Jn 17:17)
- cleanses us (Eph 5:26)
- protects (Eph 6:17)
- discerns and exposes (Heb 4:12)
- brings blessing (Jn 1:25; Deut 11:26-28)

The Sacrifice of the Lift-Bridge Operator

I grew up in a Christian home. My parents both love Jesus and they did there very best to obey his commands and to raise my siblings and I up in the church and in the ways of God. They did a great job and I owe them so much for building a faith foundation in my life.

But despite my upbringing I approached high school I was weak to the temptations of the world and the yearning for popularity and fame through athletics. And so, for a season, I set my faith aside and I ran after the things that I thought I was missing out on, girls/parties/crude humor/and the like. For two years I chased these things despite the fact that I knew deep inside they weren’t giving me the joy I was looking for, and it wasn’t until late October of my senior year that the Lord broke me trough a serious of circumstances that involved a pig, alcohol, driving, and an extension cord.

The night I was pulled over by police and my Dad came to pick-up me and my car at 2:30AM was one of the worst nights of my life. …

Audio of Penn State/Nebraska pre-game prayer

My friend Chris shared this on his blog.


Labor, Scatter, and Sow in Service to Others

Charles Leach, in his 1898 book "Our Bible: How We Got It," talking about the great work of William Tyndale, who devoted his life to translating the Bible into common English, and who was burned at the stake just three years before an authorized version gained accepted circulation among the people in 1539AD.
It was his lot to labor while others enjoyed, to scatter what others should gather, and to sow what others should reap.  In it all, however, God's Word was honored, the salvation of many men furthered, and the glory of God secured. Tyndale lived the bulk of his life in poverty, danger, and scorn.  He experienced little earthly success and was viewed in poor terms through the eyes of the world.  Yet the riches that were laid up for him in heaven for his great work and perseverance to God in the face of trial are vast.

Thank you Lord for William Tyndale and the way he gave his life so that I could read your Word!

One Person's Sexual Sin has Tentacles that Ruin Many LIves

As I have watched the events unfold at Penn State University over the last three days I cannot help but reflect on the destruction that comes with sexual sin.  While it is true that all sin is sin, and whenever we sin we act in defiance of a holy God, there is something uniquely powerful and devastating about sexual sin.

Sexual sin is not a solo sin.  The shame, guilt, secrecy, addictive tendency, and rippling consequences of sexual sin are like tentacles that stretch out and stealthy latch on to the lives of many people who are often not involved with the sexual sin at all.

Look at the damage that Jerry Sandusky's sexual sin and perversion has done at Penn State.
- Little boys have been emotionally scarred, some whose lives are harmed forever.
- A university President has been fired.  And now his family must work through that.
- One of the greatest college football coaches of all time has been fired and his legacy tarnished by scandal.
- Sandusky's wife, children and gra…

So Much Richness in 1 Peter 2:9-12

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God's people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.  Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation. (1 Peter 2:9-12 ESV)

Penn State, Pedophilia, Sex, and Morality Questions

I have been saddened and sickened by the news today coming out of Penn State University about former Assistant Football Coach Jerry Sandusky and the allegations of his molestation of children over a fifteen year period.  It is disgusting and depraved, and I pray that Jesus would do a mighty healing the lives of the people affected.

What I find curious is the multitudes of reporters and commentators who are shouting about the moral responsibility of Penn State football coach Joe Paterno to report and ensure follow-up action about the information he received regarding Sandusky's actions.  As a Christian I believe that Paterno (or anyone for that matter) who knew about the behavior of Sandusky should have done everything they could to help the victims involved.  Pedophilia and molestation are shameful, sinful, evil actions and lusts.

However, for those people who are not Christians I have to ask, "Where does your moral guidebook come from?  Who gets to decide what is moral or i…

Secret Church Learnings

On Friday night nearly 20 brave people gathered at my house to participate in Secret Church, a 6+ hour simulcast Bible teaching from David Platt, pastor of Brook Hills Church.  The topic of the night was Marriage, Family, Sex and the Gospel.  It was a tremendous amount of material but a great night of Biblical teaching and relationship building with people from my church.

Some of the things that have stuck with me are:
- fathers must assume the leadership role in teaching their wives and children about Jesus
- don't exasperate your children
- that your children know and love God is the most valuable thing you pass along as a parent
- the Gospel is the hope and power for everything
- dead people don't come back to life on their own power
- the Bible is meant to be learned and lived
- be taught and then go and teach
- pray for people groups around the world who are being persecuted for their faith
- abortion is all about God, not about politics/women/society/free choice
- don…

It is About HIS Story, not Yours

Today I took a call at work about a piece of merchandise that someone wanted to return.  After I explained that we could not return the merchandise the man very kindly said, "No problem.  Let's set that little thing aside and deal with the bigger issue."

He then proceeded to start telling me about Jesus Christ. I stopped him to let him know I was already a Christian and he didn't have to convince me.  "Why do you think you're a Christian?," he asked.  I explained that I have been saved by Christ and that Jesus has transformed my life, and that I share my story with people who may be interested.  He replied, "Evangelism is not about your story, it is about God's story."  Ouch.  Blunt.  But true...

I'm not very outwardly evangelistic.  Sharing my faith isn't something that comes super easy to me (unless I am preaching from the pulpit).  My default mode is to try and relate or impress another person by extolling the ways in which Jes…

What's the Size of Your Leadership Plate

I heard Mark Driscoll talk once about  the concept of leaders having different size leadership plates.  Here's what he said in a nutshell.  Different leaders can only handle certain amounts of responsibility and pressure before things start to go array.

Some leaders have large plates and can handle lots of things.  Other leaders have medium size plates.  And some leaders can only handle a small number of things.  No leadership plate size is better than any other.  The key is to acknowledge the size of your plate, fill it, but don't take on more than you can handle.

I have always wanted to be a large plate leader.  However, the fact is that I am not and will not be.  I am a medium to small sized plate leader.  When I get many projects going at once, I start feeling all kinds of anxiety and I start to miss details and drop balls.  I am much more adapt to focus on completing a few things, than to balance many things at once.  When I have lots of things happening I start to get r…

What Do You Watch?

A couple weeks ago I preached a sermon about The Impact of our Tongues (from James 3:1-12 - you can watch it here). I have continued thinking about the topic ever since. I have also been thinking a lot about the impact of watch we watch. Stephanie and I have an on-going discussion about the things we watch and the responsibility we have as Christians in determining what we are entertained by. I think it is a healthy discussion for us to have.

I am moving more and more towards drawing a harder line in the things I watch. This is difficult because so many television shows and movies now are laced with all sorts of sinful behavior. That is the main point for me. I don't think it is appropriate for Christians to be entertained by sin. The problem is determining how this plays out. Do I watch a show that balances clean humor and code humor? Do I watch a show that has violence and killing? Do I watch a show that has characters normalize behaviors out of sync with Scripture?