Monthly Archives: July 2009

Our Father Takes Us to Work

I’m participating in the blog tour for Mark Driscoll’s newest book Religion Saves (and Nine Other Misconceptions), so my review will be up next Wednesday, but I wanted to share this quote on the place of evangelism in relation to election because I just thought it was great.

We should evangelize the lost because God has chosen to work through our ministry efforts to save people. He does this so that we would share in his joy and get to know the heart of our Father better. Similarly, when I was a little boy, my dad was a union construction worker who hung sheetrock. I still remember the times when I dressed up like my pop, donning overalls, a white T-shirt, steel-toed boots, and a miniature hard hat, and packed up my lunch box and thermos to go to work with my dad. He would give me a few tasks throughout the day, and by working with my dad I got to know him better and spend time in his world. God is a Father like that. He needs people like me to evangelize the world no more than my dad needed a little boy to build an apartment complex, but he takes his kids to work because he loves them and wants them to be with him doing what he loves.

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The Kingdom is A Table Prepared in the Presence of Our Enemies

“The Kingdom is to be in the midst of your enemies. And he who will not suffer this does not want to be of the Kingdom of Christ; he wants to be among friends, to sit among roses and lilies, not with the bad people but the devout people. O you blasphemers and betrayers of Christ! If Christ had done what you are doing, who would have ever been spared?”

– Martin Luther

HT: My friend Kinley

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In Christ Alone

I have no idea who this guy is, but I love this song, and his version was my favorite. Simple, unobtrusive, but still powerful. He’s not performing. (And I like his accent.

Lyrics:

“In Christ Alone”Words and Music by Keith Getty & Stuart TownendCopyright © 2001 Kingsway Thankyou Music

In Christ alone my hope is found;He is my light, my strength, my song;This cornerstone, this solid ground,Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.What heights of love, what depths of peace,When fears are stilled, when strivings cease!My comforter, my all in all—Here in the love of Christ I stand.

In Christ alone, Who took on flesh,Fullness of God in helpless babe!This gift of love and righteousness,Scorned by the ones He came to save.Till on that cross as Jesus died,The wrath of God was satisfied;For ev’ry sin on Him was laid—Here in the death of Christ I live.

There in the ground His body lay,Light of the world by darkness slain;Then bursting forth in glorious day,Up from the grave He rose again!And as He stands in victory,Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me;For I am His and He is mine—Bought with the precious blood of Christ.

No guilt in life, no fear in death—This is the pow’r of Christ in me;From life’s first cry to final breath,Jesus commands my destiny.No pow’r of hell, no scheme of man,Can ever pluck me from His hand;Till He returns or calls me home—Here in the pow’r of Christ I’ll stand.

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Meet Jesus Jr.

My friend Ray Ortlund, Jr. on “Jesus Jr.”:

Our local deity is not Jesus. He goes by the name Jesus. But in reality, our local deity is Jesus Jr.

Our little Jesus is popular because he is useful. He makes us feel better while conveniently fitting into the margins of our busy lives. But he is not terrifying or compelling or thrilling. When we hear the gospel of Jesus Jr., our casual response is “Yeah, that’s what I believe.” Jesus Jr. does not confront us, surprise us, stun us. He looks down on us with a benign, all-approving grin. He tells us how wonderful we really are, how entitled we really are, how wounded we really are, and it feels good.

Jesus Jr. appeals to the flesh. He does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him. He is not able to understand them, much less impart them, because Jesus Jr. is the magnification of Self, the idealization of Self, the absolutization of Self turning around and validating Self, flattering Self, reinforcing Self. Jesus Jr. does not change us, because he is a projection of us.

It is time to tear down Jesus Jr. It is time to rediscover the real Jesus. Still today, even to us, his invitation stands: “Come to me” (Matthew 11:28).

On a personal note, once in our pastors’ gospel group, Ray shared about “his friend Jesus.” It was one of the most riveting, impactful, Spiritual moments I’ve ever experienced. Ray described …

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A Little Something for the Nerds

Been a while since I posted some straight up theology, but those, like me, who are fans of both N.T. Wright and John Piper may appreciate this two-part series by Kevin DeYoung with four questions for Wright on the particulars of his view of the atonement:

Good News: We Go to Heaven When We Die!

Flying Monkeys and the New Perspective

Good stuff.

HT: Zach Nielsen

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The Bridge of Grace (That’ll Preach)

The incomparable Spurgeon:

“The bridge of grace will bear your weight, brother. Thousands of big sinners have gone across that bridge, yea, tens of thousands have gone over it. I can hear their trampings now as they traverse the great arches of the bridge of salvation. They come by the thousands, by their myriads, e’er since that day when Christ first entered His glory.

They come and yet never a stone has sprung in that mighty bridge. Some have been the chief of sinners and some have come at the very last of their days but the arch has never yielded beneath their weight. I will go with them, trusting to the same support. It will bear me over as it has for them.”

HT: OFI

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Missioning Prayers

My parents head out for Honduras tomorrow morning. The team my dad leads there once or twice a year will be there for some time, helping a local church with evangelism, doing some construction, ministering to children, etc.

Please pray for fruitfulness in their efforts, wisdom from the Spirit, and of course safety given the recent cultural rumblings taking place there.

Also, friends of ours Ben and Jess Mulvaney, who are both Elementers and members of Journey Church, are on their way to Jeffery’s Bay, South Africa. They will be helping with some safehouse and orphanage construction and ministering to many orphans, most of whom have AIDS.

Jess has begun blogging through their trip here.

Please pray for their fruitfulness and energy, and for their safety as well.—

If anyone is interested, my thoughts on why short-term missions are important is here.

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Houston, We Have Dysfunction

There are some things I miss about my adopted hometown. Immediate access to real Tex-Mex and good seafood come to mind. I don’t miss the heat. At all. I actually thought Nashville was reaching Houston levels of heat and humidity this summer; it’s the worst summer I remember in my 12 years in Middle Tennessee. Then I came to visit Houston again. Nope. This heat and humidity is unreal. It’s gross. It’s ridiculous. I don’t miss this at all.

Another thing I don’t miss — and I always forget about this — is how fixated on size Houstonians seem to be. I’ve been here 4 days and have had countless conversations already with people where the size of churches has been the topic. Yes, I see your churches. They are big. Congratulations.

This is how way too many Christians measure success here. How big is it?It’s not even this bad in Nashville, where the megachurch reigns too. They like churches big and product-providing in Tennessee, but they aren’t just so out there about it. It comes up in nearly every conversation I’ve had here in Houston. Is it a Texas thing?

And this isn’t about how many are in my church back home. Nobody has asked me that. They just keep asking about other churches here, churches of friends. They’re talking about their own churches. They’re referencing churches around town. And it’s all about size.

If you’re in a small (or smaller) church here, you’re cute. It’s neat or nice that you …

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Who You Are When No One’s Looking is Who You Are

“We should all live our lives as though there is no such thing as a secret.” — Ted Haggard, who knows something about living a double life

Bart Barber alerts us to a new Microsoft campaign that appears to solve the problem of wives discovering their husband’s once secret p()rnographic Internet browsing history not by encouraging husbands to stop surfing p()rn but by creating software to help them hide it better. (Microsoft has since pulled the ad, but only because the video includes simulated vomiting, not because they thought it stupid to promote a feature that allows people to safely cyber-cheat on their spouses. (The video has other offensive content also, btw. Be warned.))

Barber writes:

What is Microsoft’s solution to a depraved and perverted husband and a sickened wife? Will the folks at Redmond suggest that pornographic sites like the bleeped out URL given in the advertisement are inappropriate? Of course not. Their proposed solution is “InPrivate Browsing.” Indulge the darker recesses of your heart, just learn to keep secrets better. Now THERE’S an approach that will strengthen the fabric of our society (not)!

Microsoft’s slogan for Internet Explorer 8 is “Browse Better.” How Orwellian that this slogan is actually an encouragement for people to browse worse!

This is not the first innovation in helping us maintain our private lives, which by the way, are our real lives.

This week retired NFL quarterback Steve McNair, one of my family’s favorite athletes, was found shot to death from an apparent murder-suicide with his twenty …

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Stay Faithful

I have found as a teacher that clinging to a passion for the message, a burden to share the gospel, and a joy to proclaim Christ is an amazing antidote to the temptation to make feelings contingent upon the quality of the music, the smoothness of the transitions, the size of the crowd, the whatever. When I draw my excitement from Scripture and ground my motivation in an unbearable need to talk about the gospel, I cut off the emotional roller coaster of all the other who/what/when/where.

I’m guessing you can reach burnout rather quickly when ministry fulfillment is found in anything other than faithfulness to God’s calling.

There are highs and lows to ministry and preaching and leading a worship service, but consciously placing myself in the contours of Scripture does wonders for my ability to be content (and excited) no matter what.

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