Monthly Archives: December 2008

Blessed Are You When Men Hate You Because of the Son of Man

Rick Warren’s getting grilled.

No stranger to getting flamed by church people indignant over his writings and methods, Warren is now getting flamed by some very vocal supporters of President-elect Obama because he (Warren) is pro-life and against gay marriage.

Shocker, I know.

Rick Warren reads this blog. Or at least, he did at one time. He sent me a kind email once upon a time complimenting the writing here and wishing me well (without so much a peep about my co-opting his “____-driven” thing :-). I think he’s a pretty good guy. That said, I’m neither a Rick Warren fanboy nor a critic — I’ve only mentioned him a handful of times on this site, each time positively — and while I obviously would disagree with him in some areas, I have nothing but respect for him, particularly as it relates to his ministry’s great work in Africa.

Here’s the thing: Warren is not saying anything outrageous for a Christian minister. He is simply, as most evangelical Christians do, saying that babies should get to live and that homosexual behavior is sin. That he is getting branded a radical hatemonger for these things should tell us a lot about the culture we live in, which — PAY ATTENTION HERE — doesn’t care if you’re a cool, goatee-sporting, social justice loving, Obama voting Christian. If you simply follow the Bible’s counsel about life and sin, you’re Hitler.

We will see more and more of this. And hear me on this also: this is not …

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Leading in Different Ways

A money quote from The Missional Leader by Alan Roxburgh and Fred Romanuk:

Today, we give up on congregations that we declare are out of touch with the culture. We run to big, successful places with marquee-name leaders to find out how to be successful. In so doing we are going in exactly the opposite direction from everything we see in the Biblical narratives. We have forgotten that God’s future often emerges in the most inauspicious places. If we let our imagination be informed by this realization, it will be obvious that we need to lead in ways that are different from those of a CEO, an entrepreneur, a super leader with a wonderful plan for the congregation’s life. Instead, we need leaders with the capacity to cultivate an environment that releases the missional imagination of the people of God.

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People Are Broken

I am on Twitter. I recently began following @secrettweet, sort of a Twitter version of PostSecret (content warning), so that I would have a regular humbling reminder of something I so easily forget about myself and others.

A sample of the @secrettweet feed:

5885 I have known for years that my dad is cheating on my terminally ill step-mom, and I don’t have the heart to tell anyone.

5877 I know he was married, and they had three kids. He didnt care. Why should i?

5794 I feel like I’m taking my grandmother’s death too lightly. For me, she was gone 2 years ago when she developed a mental disease.

5783 every man i’ve met recently is not ready to ‘date’. But now they’ve moved on & are ‘dating’ someone else. what’s wrong with me?

5702 my roommate’s half of the room REALLY smells, but i don’t want to tell him about it because i don’t want to come off as mean.

5721 i like facebook because my friends know my birthday and acknowledge it, unlike my family who forgot.

5639 I am always worried about money, I just wish I had enough self control to get out of overdraft

5571 i love my children but sometimes hate being a mother.

5661 I’m agoraphobic and can’t go to a doctor on my own. Someone see that I’m dying and help me. PLEASE.

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God Doesn’t Think You’re Awesome

He doesn’t. He is not “enthralled by your beauty.”

He sees you as you are: broken, sinful, hard, selfish.

And he loves you anyway.

That makes him the awesome one, not us.

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.– Romans 5:8

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The Greatest Privilege

I got to share the gospel with someone today.

And I get to baptize my oldest daughter (along with 1 or 2 others) on Sunday.

The goodness of God in the gospel of Jesus is so wonderful.

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Yet More On Self-Feeding, Part Two

First, this is an afterthought addendum to these several posts of mine on this subject:For I Was Hungry, and You Told Me to Self-FeedFeed Yourself; or, Am I My Brother’s Keeper?You’re Supposed to Feed PeopleYet More On Self-Feeding

As you can see, it’s a bit of a hobbyhorse of mine. But as long as people keep urging it, I’m gonna keep pushing back.

Secondly, I wholeheartedly agree that Christians should take responsibility for their own spiritual growth, so long as it is in the spirit of Galatians 6:1-5.

But another thing occurs to me about why pastors saying “Learn how to feed yourself” to people who have the audacity to say they’re not being fed is so wrong. It has to do with what sort of food is being provided/suggested.

See, the new tack isn’t “This stuff is for beginners; go learn how to get your own food.” The new tack is actually, “I’m putting the food out for you every week, but until you pick it up and eat it, you’re gonna say you’re not being fed. You’re not a baby; you’re a grown-up. Feed yourself.”

It’s clever and it’s cute and it makes those asking to be fed feel like immature dolts and it gets laughs from the choir. But it’s still pretty much wrong.

Because here’s what it is saying, essentially: “Hey, every week I tell you how to be a better Christian. I give you lots of applicable tips and steps to be happy, healthy, and confident. …

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Missional Prayer

Timmy Brister has begun a series on missional prayer that is excellent so far.

Introductory ThoughtsMissional Prayer: Jesus

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Just ‘Cause You’re Not Deep Doesn’t Mean You’re Not Confusing

Jesusless preaching is a big deal. I didn’t make that up.

I’m going to talk about somebody in particular in this post, and I wavered over whether to mention his name or not. I don’t think it’s that important, because it’s not this person I am concerned about so much as the sort of thing this particular example evidences. In other words, this isn’t about him really, but the sort of thing he did. But then I also feel like talking about somebody without being brave enough to name them is lame. So I’ll name him: Perry Noble.

I don’t know Perry Noble. I’m sure he’s a fantastic guy. As sure as one can be about somebody one doesn’t know, I’m sure he’s my brother in Christ. I don’t name him here to malign him or to condemn him, but to warn against the sort of thing I’m really trying to malign here, which is Jesus-deficient preaching that distorts or misunderstands the gospel.Got that? Feel free to send hate mail; I’m prepared.

I was reading Perry’s blog, and he’s in a series about arguments you can’t win, and so far they are predictably about things he hears from “religious” people. In the latest one, about criticisms his teaching isn’t deep enough, he says some interesting things.

First, I share his concern about what “deep” means. I think people tend to mean different things when they say they like “deep” teaching. The guy who founded Element was aiming for deep teaching, and he …

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Do You Lose Sleep at Night Thinking About Your Church?

Your pastor probably does. (I know I do.)

I was instant messaging once with my friend Bill, when I noticed I had gotten a sweet message from an Element guy on my Facebook about the sermon I’d delivered just hours earlier. I shared it with Bill, and he said, “Kinda makes it all worth it, huh?”Technically, it doesn’t. Being able to proclaim Jesus should make ministry efforts “worth it.” But, yeah, getting comments like that does kinda make it all worth it. It’s a huge relief knowing people are enjoying, feeling served by, being satisfied with, and edified by my efforts.Maybe that makes me an egomaniac, but I like to think it just makes me human.

If you love your pastor, I hope you take as many opportunities as you can to encourage him. I know it doesn’t sound like much, but he likely hears much criticism privately and is constantly dealing with the pressures of keeping many people satisfied in their service and attendance.

Remember that your pastor typically has the same responsibilities and concerns as you — financial responsibilities, busy-ness and exhaustion, child raising, not to mention dealing with the same sin/repentance dynamic as you — but he is also not just thinking about his immediatel family, but the whole congregation. When a couple is on the verge of divorce, he bears that weight. When parents have a child who is running from God, he bears that weight. When Sister Ethel and Sister Margaret are arguing over what color the such-and-such …

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Deepak’s "Cosmic Jesus"

Meet the new New Age. Same as the old New Age.

Deepak Chopra’s Jesus: A Story of Enlightenment

Mmmkay.

Your Jesus is Too Safe, by the way, releases from Kregel in the Fall next year.

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