Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Have a Great Thanksgiving...

As you prepare to
celebrate Thanksgiving,
take a moment to remember
the good fortune we enjoy as a nation.
The struggles we face can be met
with the assurance that Almighty God
will never leave us nor forsake us
according to His word!

This helped the Pilgrims of Plymouth during their maiden voyage
and subsequent arrival in America,
and it should help us today as well as we look to the future
of our Great Nation!

Love it or leave it!
So wherever you find yourself this Thanksgiving, I hope
your day is filled with God's blessing and favor!

Happy Thanksgiving World, we serve a Mighty God...

Thursday, November 20, 2008

That Which Divides...

This must be how we look to the watching world. One true church with many faces.

I've been thinking about the things that divide Christians and decided to jot some of them down. I'm sure you can add to this list, so please, feel free to do so with a comment or two.

Some of these are meaningless, and wouldn't stop two Christians from socializing or joining the same church. But, for some, these would keep them from socializing with you and you couldn't join their church if you wanted.

My recommendation; if someone withholds fellowship from you because of these, let it go. Pray for them and move on.

So, here we go...

That which divides:
  • Bible versions: KJV, ESV, NIV, NASB, etc., etc., (I know you KJV guys are HOT now, ain't-cha?
  • Church size: Small, medium, large, mega
  • Church building: Traditional, house, cathedral, organic house
  • Church mode: One meeting, multi-service, one location, multi-site, multi-campus
  • Church Government: Senior Pastor, Lead Pastor, Deacons, No Deacons, Elder led, Congregational led, Women Pastors, Women Deacons, etc.
  • Spiritual Gifts: Cessationist, full gospel (all gifts still exist), all speak in tongues, tongues don't exist anymore, no more "super-natural" gifts, etc.
  • Church structure: Program driven (programs for every family member), relational driven (little to no programs that would divide families), Youth groups, No youth groups, Children's ministry, No Children's ministries, etc.
  • Attire: Ripped jeans and shorts OK, Suit and tie preferred, Dresses for gals preferred, etc.
  • Smoking: Can, should Christians smoke squares, cigars?
  • Alcohol: BIGGY...Can, should Christians drink alcohol?
  • Communion: Weekly, monthly, quarterly. Grape juice, or red wine?
  • Worship style: Look out now...Contemporary, Hymns only, a blend of both, or something entirely different.
  • Worship music: Instruments, no instruments, organs, drums, electric guitar, or acapella?
  • Educating children: Homeschool, private school, public school (type 'education' to search this blog to see what I've wrote about this)
  • Working Wives: Can, should women work outside the home?
  • Eschatology: The study of end times. Pre-trib, mid-trib, post-trib, and so on. (Thank God our salvation isn't based on knowing that which Christ said only the Father knows!) OK boys, put away the charts... :D
  • Tattoos
  • Men wearing earrings
  • Modes of baptism
  • Paedo baptist vs. Credo baptist
  • Denominations: (There are over 300 branches of Christians, with over 38,000 different denominations. Yikes!)
And the list can go on, and on, and on, and for some, it does. Like Pharisees, some believers get so caught up in what divides us, rather than focusing on what unites us. And for that I have a list as well...

That which UNITES Christians:
  • The Gospel of Jesus Christ!
  • Amen...
PS - My own personal views for the above mentioned subjects are found in the Bible. What it teaches, I believe!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Catholics Beware...(Follow-Up)

The Catholic Diocese of Charleston removed Father Newman's letter calling Catholics who voted for Barack Obama to do penance before taking Communion from his church website. They didn't like him standing up for the unborn. Shame on those cowards!

Maybe Father Newman should nail another 95 theses to their door and become a Protestant...

I have spoken on this matter...may God's will be done!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Catholics Beware...

"1. Voting for a pro-abortion politician when a plausible pro-life alternative exits constitutes material cooperation with intrinsic evil, and those Catholics who do so place themselves outside of the full communion of Christ’s Church and under the judgment of divine law."

Not my words, but those of Father Jay Scott Newman, in this letter to his parishioners.

Glad to see this Priest is willing to go against the over 60% of professing Catholics that voted for Barack Obama.

As a Protestant, I can honestly say that if I were Catholic, this would be the kind of Priest I'd want over me. Someone not too afraid of political correctness from a leadership position.

Despite my differences with the Catholic teachings, I must give a big KUDOS to Mr. Newman for standing up for the most fragile in our society, the unborn.

May the Gospel go forth...

Monday, November 10, 2008

It Isn't All Bad...

As only Voddie Baucham could, he has painted a clear picture for Christians to consider in this time of transition with the Obama presidency only 2 or so months away. The following 'Bold' face type is taken from his blog directly:

"It Isn't All Bad"

Obviously, I, like many of my readers, have been a bit discouraged in light of the recent election. And I don’t mean the outcome. Those of you how know me, or follow my blog know that I was disappointed long before the primaries ended, and have been a “third party” guy since long before this election (ironically, some accuse me of jumping on the third party bandwagon because the Republicans added a woman to the ticket). At any rate, Jesus is still on the throne. So don’t be discouraged. Here are ten things about which I am encouraged in light of the recent election:

1.Evangelicals will be forced to rely on the gospel instead of the government as the means of cultural transformation.

2.The reality of Gramscian Marxist cultural hegemony can no longer be denied (even McCain was at times running on a socialist agenda, i.e., the “bailout” of home owners). Perhaps Christians can have an honest discussion about the role of education and media in worldview formation, and the failure of both the church, and the family to assume a proper role in the matter.

3.Perhaps this judgment on our Republic (which I believe either ticket would have represented to some degree) will bring about sober repentance, reformation and revival in the church.

4.The pro-life movement has been re-energized. It seems those who love and believe in the sanctity of life, and desire to protect the unborn relied on Mr. Bush to “fix things” during his presidency. Now we know that was not the case. Though abortions have decreased slightly, the genocide continues. It never stopped. The government is not the answer! God alone will give us victory in this arena, and he will not share his glory with another.

5.Perhaps “conservatives” will dust off the Constitution and start holding our leaders accountable to it again. In the past eight years George W. Bush has in many ways made a mockery of the Constitution (the Patriot Act, “No Child Left Behind,” an undeclared, unconstitutional war, proposing the $700 Billion bailout, etc.). Unfortunately, many conservatives gave him a pass. I have a feeling Mr. Obama will be called to task for doing things Mr. Bush did in spades (i.e., the largest expansion of government in American history).

6.Mr. Obama is now ‘off script’ (as evidenced by his Nancy Reagan comment and subsequent apology), and will no longer be able to get by with vague rhetoric (Hope and Change will now have to be defined). His ‘smooth’ factor will be reduced by a factor of ten if his first press conference is any indication. Look for more “Joe the Plumber” type moments of honesty in the future. Perhaps he will soon be seen as a President worthy of the respect the office carries rather than a Messiah to be worshipped.

7.Mr. Obama garnered 52% of the popular vote (the first Democrat to get a majority of the popular vote since Jimmy Carter), and won the Electoral College by a two-to-one margin, thus completely negating the “wasted vote” argument used by many conservatives to chasten third party voters.

8.America circumvented the Jesse Jackson/Al Sharpton crowd and still got a black president. In fact, Jackson has been openly critical of Obama. Now the typical Jackson/Sharpton/NAACP crowd will have to find a new argument since a black man now holds the highest office in the land. No more, “The Man is keeping us down” since you don’t get higher than the White House. This was an American accomplishment whether you like the guy or not. Interestingly, our “secular government” was able to find a black president before many Christian organizations (i.e., the Southern Baptist Convention... I only mention them because I’m a Southern Baptist, and I know the powers-that-be would love to have crossed that bridge long ago).

9.The “discussion” about race/racism in this country now includes the racist comments and attitudes of the Jeremiah Wrights and Louis Farrakhans of the world. Before, black racism got a pass (i.e., the argument that blacks can’t be racist because they “have no power”). Now the Wright issue has forced Mr. Obama do distance himself from black liberation theology, and we may have a window of opportunity (in the church) to have a real “come to Jesus meeting” about the sin of racism on both sides

10.Bristol Palin can have her baby and get married away from the national public eye, and without the public scorn and ridicule that would undoubtedly have hounded her the way it is currently hounding her mother. In other words, this young woman can now be protected in ways that would have been impossible had her family been headed for the White House.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Are Pastor's Responsible?

With the election being on most people's minds right now, I thought I'd throw a question out there. Regardless of who you voted for, I'd like you to consider the following question: Are Pastor's responsible for how their members vote?

Simple question right? Maybe, maybe not. Depends who you ask.

With Obama getting 43% of peoples vote who attend church (or synagogue or mosque), and getting 95% of the black vote, along with 43% of the white vote, and 67% of the Hispanic vote, I have to believe there were a lot of Christian votes mixed in there.

So I'm wondering about the Christian vote.

Were the people of God properly prepared to make such a decision by their Pastors?

Did they know how to think critically and theologically about the vote? How to think like a Christian concerning the issues? Or did they just go on emotion and gut? I really don't care if they voted Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, Constitution Party, etc. I just wonder if Christians were prepared theologically and who's responsible for getting them there? Themselves, their Pastors, or both?

If they weren't prepared theologically, do their Pastors bear some of that responsibility? If a Pastor's flock votes overwhelmingly for a candidate who supports and defends abortion and gay rights, has that Pastor been doing his job adequately? Or, is it even his job to prepare his flock for elections? I know there are certain things Pastors aren't suppose to say about politics from the pulpit, but is it enough to just say "It's our civic duty to vote. Regardless of who you vote for, just make sure you vote!"

Is this how most Pastor's prepared their flock for last Tuesday? If so, God help us...

Were Judges, Kings and Priests held responsible for Israel's behavior in the OT? Does the NT hold Overseers (Pastors) responsible for the condition of their churches? Has anything changed for today?

Do exceptions exist? Absolutely. No matter how well a Pastor can teach the sanctity of life, or uphold God's view of marriage and teach what the bible says about homosexuality, there will always be some in his flock who defy his teachings. But do the statistics make sense? Do Christians in America think and act like Christians in the voting booth, and what role do Pastors play in this?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Silence of the Lambs...

As the masses sat, stood, knelt and waited for Barack Hussein Obama to emerge like Jesus on water Tuesday night after being elected our next President, I couldn't help but think of certain things, people, places and times that I thought may have paralleled this moment in American history.

The names of Jim Jones, David Koresh, Josef Stalin, Adolf Hitler, Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez, Kim Jung Il and others raced across my mind as I looked at the images and then eventually listened to Obama's acceptance speech.

Don't think of these men from their historical stand-point, what we know about them from history, but rather, try and think of these men from their humble beginnings. Before we knew what the ideologies of these men would produce. Before the bloodshed.

As Obama spoke and the cameras panned across the crowd gathered at Hutchinson Field in Chicago, you could see the masses soaking in every moment...every word...transfixed by every breath and gesture of their new President. From the family room of my home where I watched this unfold with my family, I couldn't help but feel sorry for the crowd, knowing that they were sold a bag of goods with nothing but empty promises in it. Nothing that will satisfy in the end. Nothing that will bring God's blessing upon this nation, but will rather ensure a further separation due to the bloodshed yet to be unleashed.

Barack has declared, “I have consistently advocated for reproductive choice and will make preserving women’s rights under Roe v. Wade a priority as President.” This means massive bloodshed. This means appointing possibly three or more Supreme Court Justices who would seek to preserve Roe v. Wade. Obama said he would sign an executive order overturning any legislation that in any way prohibits a women's right to any form of abortion. This may be the bloodiest 4-8 year period in American history coming up, and not because of war, the economy, or health care, but because of ideologies made real. Elections have consequences my friends.

Barack has gone as far as stating that he doesn't want his daughter's "punished with a baby" in a crisis pregnancy due to a bad choice. Realize what he's saying; if his daughter made a mistake and got pregnant, then decided she didn't want to keep the child, Barack would idly stand bye and watch his GRANDCHILD be murdered by the hands of a Doctor. Isn't this the opposite of the multi-generational faith and legacy that a man's suppose to leave this earth with according to scripture? Men are implored in scripture to be leaders, providers, teachers, visionaries, warriors and much more. Many many things we are implored to be, but murderers of our own progeny who have yet to be born we are not. This is shameful and evil to say the least.

And for those "so called brothers" who felt like they needed to vote for Obama because of the specialness of the moment, damn you for standing on the side of evil and injustice. God has called you to be a defender of the innocent, not a murderer of them. God has called Christians in general, and men specifically to be defenders of life, liberty, and the gospel. 1 Corinthians 16:13 says, "Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong." A vote for Obama defies all four of these biblical injunctions for men. There's no getting around this. You may wash your hands like Pilate, but you cannot wash your souls. To vote for a man who never met a fetus he wouldn't kill or a gay couple he wouldn't bless, defies your calling as a Christ follower.

The only thing Tuesday night lacked was the cyanide-laced kool-aid that I'm sure most people there and around the nation would gladly drink while Blue Oyster Cult's "Don't Fear the Reaper" plays softly in the background!

Was John McCain the answer for America? Hardly, but I'd take my chances with a Patriotic war hero over a naked Marxist any day.

We are Israel of the Old Testament asking for Saul while God implores them not too, and even warns them of the coming destruction should their desires not line up with His. They got King Saul to be sure, and we got Barack. May the gospel lead our nation to repentance...

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Dear Mr. Obama...

As a Veteran myself, I understand where this Veteran is coming from...

Monday, October 27, 2008

A Masculine Christianity: Husbands Protect Their Wives

In my first post on "A Masculine Christianity," I thought there's no better way to begin than with an address from the General, Mark Driscoll.

This is a clear and much needed message for Men in today's culture, when abandonment and unfaithfulness are knocking at your doorstep just waiting for a foothold...

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Coming Soon..."A Masculine Christianity!"

Is this the image of Christian Men that comes to mind when you think of Christian Men??? Probably not!

You probably think more of Mr. Rogers don't you???

Well, over the course of the next month or so, I'll be writing about the subject of "Masculine Christianity," and whey Men need God!

Hope you'll check in every so often to read about Christian Men in a way that will challenge the lies you've believed. Stay tuned!

Friday, October 17, 2008

The Inner-War of Man...

There's a place in the darkness that I used to cling to it presses harsh hope against time
In the absence of martyrs there's a presence of thieves who only want to rob you blind
They steal away any sense of peace though I'm a king I'm a king on my knees
And I know they are wrong when they say I am strong As the darkness covers me

So turn on the light and reveal all the glory
I am not afraid
To bare all my weakness knowing in meekness
I have a kingdom to gain
Where there is peace and love in the light, in the light
Oh I am not afraid
To let Your light shine bright in my life, in my life
Oh I... am, I...

There are ghosts from my past who've owned more of my soul than I thought I had given away
They linger in closets and under my bed and in pictures less proudly displayed
A great fool in my life I have been have squandered till pallid and thin
Hung my head in shame and refused to take blame for the darkness I know I've let win

Can you hear me? (repeat 6x)

Well I've never been much for the baring of soul in the presence of any man
I'd rather keep to myself all safe and secure in the arms of a sinner I am
Could it be that my worth should depend by the crimson stained grace on a hand
And like a lamp on a hill Lord I pray in Your will to reveal all of You that I can

There's a place in the darkness that I used to cling to
It presses harsh hope against time...
-Jennifer Knapp, Song "Martyrs and Thieves", Kansas CD

Can anyone out there relate??? This is me...point blank. Pondering God's grace and my own wretchedness is a very sobering endeavor.

Ever felt like a soldier with limbs missing on the beachhead trying to fight and having no more bullets, no gun, no armor, no way to save yourself? Then feeling the Holy Spirit pick you up, put you on His shoulder, turn His back to the enemy so their bullets hit Him while he carries back to safety so you can be restored and sent back into battle? This is the Christian life...the way of the Barbarian...welcome to the battle...engage!

You can find this song on Youtube. It's amazingly accurate...

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Just for laughs...

Dana Carvey - Tom Brokaw, John Mccain, Barack Hussein Obama

Pablo Francisco - "Little Tortilla Boy"

Monday, October 13, 2008

Christian Tattoo Artists

This is Seattle tattoo artist and shop owner Damon Conklin. Scary dude, right? Think again.
He's an evangelical Christian who uses tattoos as a form of religious expression.

Christian tattoo shops are gaining a lot momentum these days. Some of the artwork being done is fantastic. But not all would agree that tattoos on Christians is OK, right?

So I'm asking what you think.

Should Christians get tattoos?

Is any scripture violated by getting them?

What message is sent by Christians who get them or have them, like myself?

To read the full article on the tattoo artist above click here! I could be wrong, but I believe he goes to Mars Hill.

Monday, September 1, 2008

My Kingdom Is Not of This World...

So where do we go from here? As a nation? As a people? As Christians? As Americans?

Much has been written about John McCain's pick for Vice-President, Sarah Palin. She's the current Governor of Alaska, card carrying member of the NRA, Hunter, Fisher(woman), Wife, and mother of five. To say she's busy is an understatement. Much like my own wife!

Much of what I've read and heard as been either high-praise or great disappointment, with a little "not sure yet." What has surprised me however is that many Christians who I admire and respect are viewing this election and McCain's pick from the same paradigm as the Non-Christians. Should we be doing this? Is there a better alternative view to understanding this election and our current political landscape? I think so.

As Christians let us always remember our dual citizenship. We are simultaneously citizens of the United States of America and citizens of the Kingdom of God. So the big "E" on the eye chart is whether or not the Kingdom of God exists within the realm of this world or a world to come? How you answer this question I believe will determine how you vote in this election. And remember, I'm addressing Christians here, not all people in general.

The way I see it, American Christians have an obligation to vote because God determined to allow us to be born and live in such a time as this. As Adrian Rogers once said, "It is inconceivable to think that God would establish government and then tell His people to stay away from it." I agree, and so should you. Remember God's sovereignty, He knew who would be on the two tickets come this November when it's time for His people to cast their votes. God isn't surprised by McCain's pick like we were. A good Calvinist would say God chose Sarah Palin and not John McCain. Just like God chose Deborah to be Prophetess and Mother over Israel to bring shame to a man named Barak who refused to lead the nation to battle without her joining him. Hmmm, isn't there a Barak in today's picture as well?

So in determining your choice come this Novemeber keep some things in mind as you go to the voting booth:
  • As a citizen of America, whick ticket will better seek the prosperity of our nation?
  • As a citzen of the Kingdom of God, which ticket will be more likely to be a friend to Evangelical Christians so that we may better continue to fulfill the great commision and harvet as many souls as possible for the Kingdom?
  • As a citizen of both, which ticket will seek to promote the sanctity of life which is of utmost importance in the Kingdom of God, and should be as well to any nation seeking God's guidance and blessing?
  • Remember, sometimes a foolish man needs an intelligent woman to intercede for him and the nation he serves. (1 Samuel 25:3 "Now the name of the man was Nabal, and the name of his wife Abigail. The woman was discerning and beautiful, but the man was harsh and badly behaved; he was a Calebite.") Read all 1 Samuel 25 when you're able to!
  • Jesus' Kingdom is not of this world. If it were, the Obama/Biden ticket wouldn't exist!
  • Make the best decision for America as a citizen of this nation, and continue to make the best decisions for the Church as a citizen of God's Kingdom!
  • Whoever is elected, the church still has their work cut out for them, continuing the mission of God!
For some good thoughts to consider, read Doug Wilson's article on this subject that reminded me of the things I wrote about. He's always a good voice in the wilderness!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Saturday, May 24, 2008

The End Times...

What do you think, is talk about the end times profitable, or not?

Do you see dispensationalism as more divisive than unifying as I do?

What camp would you say you're in?

Are you pre-millennial, post-millennial, any-millennial?

Do you believe in flying people meeting Jesus in the air, like most say the rapture will occur?

I like to think of end times discussions or 'eschatology' as something to think about, but not divide over. I like how Mark Driscoll classifies things. He says all issues go in either the closed hand, or in the open hand.

Closed hand issues would be those nonnegotiables like the deity of Christ, salvation by faith, male elders, etc. Whereas open handed issues would be things like eschatology, which spiritual gifts still exist, which bible version is best, can women be deacons, etc.

In Matthew 24, Jesus' disciples asked him to tell them when the end was coming, and Jesus told them he didn't know. He said only the Father knows. But what he told them to do was to be ready for whenever the end came.

So keep your eye on the sky, and keep your ears peeled for the trumpet. You just never know!!!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

The blessed burden that I bare...

Here I am with a Larikeet on my head. This was taken at the Cincinnati Zoo on a recent vacation we took. Just thought I'd share this photo.

Anyway, at a recent conference I attended, I sat in on a message from James McDonald, who pastors a church in Peoria, IL., and he said a very interesting comment.

He was sharing about his visit to Massachusetts some years back and his visit to the Plymouth Plantation where the Pilgrims set up shop after arriving in America. While talking to a gentlemen dressed up as William Brewster, James' two daughters with him began to cry. Not wanting to end his conversation, James reached down and picked up his daughters and held them in his arms. Without missing a beat, "William Brewster" replied "that is a blessed burden you bear Master McDonald."

James was very impressed by the comment and I have been since hearing it as well.

We men, who the Lord has blessed with children do bear a "blessed burden." Raising children isn't easy. If it were, more men would do it, and those that are doing it would have more. Though not easy, it is quite enjoyable. I wouldn't trade the experience of raising my eight children for anything anyone could offer.

I'm thankful that the Lord's grace has fallen upon me in the area of child raising and I pray that it has on you as well. Stay strong in the task men, and know that you serve a mighty God. Never tire in your calling, for it truly is a blessed burden that you bear!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

But for the grace of God, there go I...

Unless you've been on a media fast for the last few weeks, I'm sure you're very familiar with the recent story of former Governor Eliot Spitzer (left with wife), and his adulterous escapades with a call-girl named Ashley Alexandra Dupre (seen below), that he paid $4,300.00 for.

The story has rocked the political world, and I'm sure Eliot's world as well. He resigned from the Governorship last week as a man in disgrace, and has sought refuge in order to begin the process of rebuilding his life, marriage, and family.

I've heard lots of talk radio covering the story and some jokes from comedians and late night show hosts like Leno and Letterman. They do have much to poke at, with Spitzer paying from business accounts that were easily traced back to him, moving large sums of money from his personal accounts to the accounts belonging to the call-girls company. He didn't cover his tracks well, that's for sure.

But as I've thought about this story, I can't help but think about the tons of men out there who indulge in the same behavior as Eliot Spitzer, but haven't been caught yet. Or so they think!

Then there are the ones who have been caught. Guys like...
  • Jesse Jackson, who fathered a child from a female worker of his who he was having an affair with at the same time he was counseling the Clinton's through the whole Lewinsky scandal.
  • Bill Clinton, you know the story.
  • Rudy Guiliani, who has been married three times, and had affairs with some of them while married to others.
  • Rush Limbaugh, whose been married I believe three times now.
  • Ted Haggard, former President of the National Association of Evangelicals, who was found to be having sex with a gay male prostitute.
  • And the list goes on, let your memory fill in the rest...
My point in mentioning these guys isn't to throw them under the bus along with Spitzer; but rather to remind Men of just how common these type of affairs occur. And I'm sure that some guys reading this can recall their own adulterous affairs of years past, or current, that their wives may or may not know about.

Men, you know your own frailty apart from the grace of God as well as I do. You know your thought life, or should I say lust life, better than anyone but God. So how is it that we can take someone like Spitzer and point our fingers at him as if we're any better a person than he is? The words of Jesus come to mind when he said, "You have heard it said, 'Do not commit adultery,' but I tell you that any man who lusts for a woman has committed adultery with her already in his heart." Anyone innocent?

I'm sure many of the reporters covering the story are having affairs. The talk show hosts talking about the story all day are probably having affairs. And so on and so forth.

What this story has made me do most of all is to thank God for His grace in my life. A grace that is redemptive, restorative, and rythmatic. God's grace through Jesus can redeem the worst of situations, and worst of offenders. Christ death at Calvary is sufficient to satisfy any demand for atonement by the Father for any sins committed by mankind.

God's grace is able to restore the years that the enemy (with our participation) has stolen and sought to destroy. Jesus death at Calvary is able to restore anyone willing to believe in Him to a right standing before the Father.

God's grace also brings rhythm back to a shattered and broken world. God created this world in the beginning with rhythm and structure that was completely beautiful, and his grace is in the process of restoring all things back to himself.

I'm hoping that the Spitzer family has people around them who know the word of God well enough to help bring healing to their family. After all, where can you go from here if you're Mrs. Spitzer, and you don't know Christ and His suffering? How does Eliot begin to rebuild without knowing what he's building toward? They need God grace. They need it to bring them to repentance (him at least for this affair). They need to show them how to forgive. They need it to give them a picture of what a marriage is suppose to look like. And they need it to allow them to begin the process of rebuilding.

Then there's Ashley Dupre who comes from a broken home in Jersey. I wonder if she's been seeking an identity that her Dad may have never given her? Would things have turned out differently for her if her Dad had loved and discipled her like he was suppose too. Does she know Christ? I'm no longer so willing to say that people who sin this grievously don't know him, after seeing what people who claim to know him get caught up in. I'm hoping someone can bring the gospel to her that will help her walk away from this lifestyle and into a life of redemption and beauty!

So Men, let us all remain sober minded about our humanity and let us give God glory for his grace functioning in our lives. For without it, we are left without hope in this world and the next!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Why Should We Study Theology?

I'm a few weeks into my new theology class through Moody Bible Institute's distance learning program, and am really enjoying the content and discussion to this point.

The class is "The Doctrine of the Holy Spirit," taught by a retired Pastor/Contractor who's been in ministry for about 30-40 years in various capacities. Our class has people from various theological streams and it has caused some disagreements already, but always ends cordially with the teacher smoothing everything over.

There are people of the Wesleyan persuasion, reformed persuasion, dispensational persuasion, catholic, etc.. Some have been saved a number of months, some for a decade or so like myself, and then others for several decades. So it's quite a mixed bag.

The class has challenged me to study more in depth, to think more critically, and to know what I believe, why I believe it, and be able to explain to others why they should too. These are not traits or characteristics that most men have or desire to have. If it doesn't include drinking alcohol or watching sports, most of us men would much rather take a pass. And that's not to say that drinking alcohol or watching sports are wrong or should be avoided entirely. I enjoy a nice glass of wine or good beer when having dinner with my wife, and occasionally will catch important games that matter primarily in the post-season. But for the most part, most men, or should I say, most 'Christian' men don't really desire to know their Bibles all that well. They leave it to the "professionals."

So what's caused this? In my own experience, what has caused me to dig into my Bible was seeing other men that I "respected" dig into theirs. And when I say other men, I mean "men." Masculine, non-effeminate, heterosexual, one eyebrow, meat eating men. The kind who you'd want with you if you were gonna get jumped on your way home from bible study at 10 pm in the alley behind your house. Now there's something to consider! (Can you tell I grew up in Chicago dealing with these scenarios?)

And I firmly believe this begins from the pulpit. Do we have real men leading in most churches in the US? Do these men like the UFC? Do they hunt and like to kill things? Can their wives beat them up? Do they love their wives as Christ loved His bride? Do they disciple their children like God does His? Are they passionate about Jesus and His gospel? Do they portray Jesus as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, or is he just always the humble Galilean peasant who took a beating and was killed by stronger men, then tell you to go and do the same? What about the Jesus of Revelation. Sword protruding from His mouth as He comes to slay His enemies! Now that's a masculine man!

Don't get me wrong, we need the whole Jesus from scripture. But why is it that we mostly only hear of the weaker, softer Jesus who laid down His life as a ransom, (as portrayed by them) and not about the Lion of the tribe of Judah Jesus who will slay those who oppose Him in the end??? Could it be that a lot of Pastors better relate to the former Jesus, and not the latter one? Just a question.

I thank God that I've been in churches, some for over ten years, that were led by men who who were "men." They loved the Lord, their Bibles, their wives, children, and spoke in a way that made me want what they had.

I'm also thankful for many leaders and churches in the emerging church movement. Not emergent, but emerging. (Click here to understand the difference.) These men and churches have been very effective in reaching the most unchurched in our land; men between 18 and 30. These churches are filled with men in this demographic. I cant' explain it all, but see some common denominators that begin in the pulpit. To see some of these churches, look at my list of churches under 'churchville' to the left.

So back to the question at hand..."Why should we study theology?"

I believe the answer to my question is because we're men, and that's what "men" do!

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Meeting "The Man"

On January 29th and 30th, my wife and I, along with some close friends, headed to Deerfield, IL, for a 2-day church planting conference hosted by Acts 29. Acts 29 is a church planting network that seeks to help equip Men to plant, and re-plant, church planting churches.

The co-founder, and President of A29 is Mark Driscoll. Mark is the Lead Pastor at Mars Hill Church in Seattle, and author of several books. He planted Mars Hill in the fall of 1996, with around 12 people in his home. Today, Mars Hill averages around 7,000 in attendance every Sunday. Truly a work of God!

I became acquainted with Mark Driscoll in the late 90's when my marriage was holiness was invisible...and my god was myself. I was driving home from Chicago late one Saturday night, when I tuned in to WYLL to see what they had on. This was a Christian talk station, that occasionally had something on worth listening to. This night would alter the course of my life forever.

The program that was on was a live call-in show called 'Streettalk.'(No longer on) It was hosted by guy named Leif Moi. Leif was a general contractor, Pastor, and host of this program which aired every Saturday from 11pm - 2am Chicago time. Well, Leif happened to be a Pastor at a young, newly planted church in Seattle named...yeah, you guessed it...Mars Hill.

Leif had a co-host come in periodically to help in out or cover for him if he needed the night off, and his co-host's name?...yes again...Mark Driscoll. The two would speak to Men in ways that I didn't think Pastors were allowed to talk. Little did I know Jesus, Paul, the Apostles, and Prophets had been speaking to Men like this for thousands of years, unbeknown to me.

Well, since then, I've spent countless hours being molded, rebuked, corrected, convicted, and whatever else good preaching is suppose to do by Driscoll, and have followed the life of his church and other ministry endeavors with great delight. Ministries like Acts 29 and The Resurgence. Mark is also on the board of the Gospel Coalition, headed up by D.A. Carson and Tim Keller.

The Lord has used Mark in my life to do great and mighty things. And for that, I will forever be thankful. When I spoke with him at the conference, I relayed this message to him and he was as humble as I've ever seen any man be. My wife and I both found Driscoll to be very kind and friendly. He even gave my wife a closed fist 'high-five' when he found out that we have 8 kids. I think he even told her that she 'rocks.'

I thank God that after using Driscoll to draw me close to Christ with much needed hard words, He then led me to a solid church, led by another Pastor named Mark, who would've known, Mark Jobe at New Life Community Church in Chicago. There the Lord brought Men into my life who would disciple me and prepare me for useful service in the kingdom of God. Mark, Mike, Asa, Dave, that would be you. I spent the better part of 12 years at New Life and am forever thankful to those Men who God is using mightily in the Windy City!

So all in all, the conference was extremely insightful, but the highlight of it all was finally, after all these years, getting to meet the General. You know, he even told me that him and Leif have recently talked about doing Streettalk or some form of it again. Well, if they do, I pray that some guy out there screwing up his life and not loving his wife will just happen to tune in on his way home from work, and maybe, just maybe, alter the course of his as well!

Friday, February 1, 2008

Church Planting with Acts 29...

This past week, my wife and I, along with some close friends packed up our bags and headed up to Deerfield, IL., on the campus of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, for a two-day church planting conference hosted by Acts 29.

This trip was kind of like a "third heaven" experience for me, because it was 10 years in the making.

Acts 29 is a church planting network co-founded by Mark Driscoll. Yes, the Mark Driscoll. (Just type his name in the search box at the top of this blog to see other postings about him and you'll know that I'm a big proponent of his, and have been for over 10 years.) I'll post about my personal thoughts, and put up a photo with him in a later post.

This church planting "bootcamp," as Acts 29 calls them, was very, very insightful, and comes highly recommended for all current Pastors, and anyone interested in possibly planting a church some time down the road. See their website for a full list of topics that are covered, doctrinal beliefs, current churches, etc., etc.. You can also subscribe to their free 'podcast' and listen to previous bootcamps from previous locations.

At this conference, on top of meeting and conversing with Mark Driscoll, I was also able to meet and converse with other Men who have taught me much about life and church planting thru the years.

Men like Darrin Patrick, who serves as VP of Acts 29, Dr. Ed Stetzer, Scott Thomas, director of Acts 29, Dr. Mark Dever, founder of 9marks ministry, and Tyler Powell, asst. director of Acts 29.

These Men were first class in all respects. Polite, courteous, intelligent, and willing to converse with people until they felt all their questions were answered.

Some topics we heard teaching on were:
  • Leading the Mission
  • Preaching the Mission
  • Kingdom focused Church planting
  • Missional and Biblical Church planting
  • Church planting evangelism
  • Vision for Church planting
  • Q and A concerns for church planting wives
To see upcoming bootcamps, and other venues to hear these men at, visit their respective websites.

Thanks to the Acts 29 team for a first-class church planting experience. The gospel was proclaimed unashamedly!