Showing posts from May, 2012

Generational Genocide

Stephen Marche has written and important piece in Esquire on the reality of a generational divide in our nation now centered on economics and to a polarizing extent to politics. The article is worth a read . Here are a few snipets. " There is a young America and there is an old America, and they don't form a community of interest. One takes from the other. The federal government spends $480 billion on Medicare and $68 billion on education. Prescription drugs: $62 billion. Head Start: $8 billion. Across the board, the money flows not to helping the young grow up, but helping the old die comfortably..." "Only 58 percent of Boomers have more than $25,000 put aside for retirement, so the rest will either starve or the government will have to pay for them. But the government's future ability to pay is decreasing rapidly precisely because the Boomers splurged so heavily during the Bush and Clinton years... " "Nobody wants this. The Boomers did not set out to

Be Surrounded

This morning in our Theology Breakfast we ended the semester with Colossians 4. Our study of Colossians was a buffer of sorts, getting us from one book to another. But the time in this short book has been refreshing. In Paul's final words to the church at Colossae he sends greeting on behalf of those he is doing ministry with. Paul mentions 11 other people. All doing gospel work. All proclaiming Christ. These final words are not about Paul's great ministry (he actually asks for prayer that he might preach better) but instead about the others doing ministry with him. Paul is surrounded by committed Christ followers all devoting their lives to spread the truth of the gospel and the hope of grace. We know Paul well by his legacy but a big part of that legacy is the way he discipled others to do his job. This is a challenge for me as I strive to be surrounded by a every growing and evolving group of ministers just like Paul. For the record, I am no Paul - I am actually more like Ar

Now or Never

You are faced with "now or never" moments every day. How will you respond? Jump - fully follow Christ, make it a thing. Do it like a boss. [youtube=]

Why is it hard for you to raise up the young?

Jonathan Martin has an important post about what he sees as an older generation of leaders within the church essentially warring against a young generation as competitors rather than disciples. This post is worth a read for those in church leadership. A lot of what he says resonates with me and a lot of my friends. I think it is also a significant influence in the drive of young men to plant their own churches rather than be part of an established body. While the majority of my experience is different, I have noticed some of the things he addresses. But given that, it has actually steeled my resolve to be part of the established church and work for God's glory in the midst of it. Read the article here .

Preaching Share

Al Barth of Redeemer City to City has shared some thoughts on avoiding the problem of the celebrity pastor. It happens often when one man does the preaching in a church nearly exclusively. It is even something godly, humble men are prone to and evidently something Tim Keller is working to address at Redeemer. Barth sees three key concerns. " 1. Celebrity pastors/preachers de facto become unaccountable  even if they voluntarily submit themselves to a group of brothers. In the worst cases they become uncontrollable. As long as the man is humble, and remains humble, it can work. But the temptations to lose humility are almost irresistible. "2. A steady diet of one man’s preaching, one man’s perspectives on and means of approaching and applying the text, even if it is excellent, is unhealthy.  Eating steak at every meal may sound good at first. But after just a few days of beef at every turn, you start to feel sick (that’s right vegans!). "3. Reliance upon one preacher, ev

We call them "fighting friends"

Justin Taylor has highlighted some great thoughts from R.C. Sproul Jr. on accountability groups and the fact that people routinely ask if he is in a such a group. He responds that what they think a different gorup would offer is handled by his friends. "Now I have nothing against accountability, nor accountability groups. I am positively in favor of grieving, and have nothing against groups built around that theme. What puzzles me on both counts, however, is how we have lost what is natural, and sought to replace it with programs. What does it say about the culture, both inside and outside the church, that callings normally born by friends now are met by something so artificial, so inorganic. These groups strike me as the emotional equivalent of a multivitamin. Sure enough many of us are not getting enough vitamin D or zinc in our diets. But isn’t eating a few more veggies a better way to solve the problem?" I think we seek the artificial relationship of "accountability

Gospel communities

I think our small group structure is broken. I think we put too much emphasis on the temporary relationships that minute affinities bring and spend too little time actually devising ways to make our mission about our neighborhoods and actually doing life with our church family. For a long while I have been encouraging geographically related small groups with a lone affinity - that of Christ. When we don't do that we are nothing more than a social club to the world and even worse the enemy achieves a completely divided church because we are scattered without mission rather than missionally scattered. I have been thinking deeply about this since reading Total Church some four years ago. It gave a glimpse into church-as-life that I think the American, gathering/personality driven church has missed out on. This video expresses how The Crowded House approaches gospel communities. [vimeo] Maybe it is time for us to determine to shift and be about living in mis

Gospel transformation... at a college near you

A big part of the ministry I lead is sharing the story of how Jesus has changed our lives. We have been known for doing video testimonies and are in the midst of reimagining how to do this more in the fall. But I am blessed by the work of some firends at UCSB where they are empowering student to tell their own stories of how Jesus is changing their lives. Read more here . [vimeo] If this doesn't move you... check your heart. Thanks Jake and Jen for sharing.

Questioning your leadership training...

Mike Breen has a worthwhile article about the reality of many of our church "leadership" training programs. The truth is, they are not about leadership, instead they are about volunteering under someone else's leadership. Breen doesn't say that this is bad but does call the church to be more about training for sending. " Are our development programs about releasing leaders to the missional frontier? Or, more likely, are they about recruiting volunteers to keep the machine of the church running?  To be sure, we should attend to the organization of the church, for it is a significant thing when the scattered church gathers. But as the Church stares precipitous decline in the face—as we look to re-embrace the  missio Dei— we must learn again the art that Jesus exhibited: the task of multiplying missional leaders and releasing them into the cracks and crevices of society where there is little-to-no Gospel presence." Our efforts end up leaving the church leaderl

My first wedding

I have just returned from a quick trip to D.C. to officiate my first wedding. It was a great opportunity to kick off my friends Ben and Marion's marriage. And best of all, I got to talk about Jesus. Now back to work!

From where our strength comes...

"I will strengthen you; I will help you; I will hold on to you with My righteous right hand." Isaiah 41:10b This weekend I am officiating a wedding and this verse is part of the scripture that will be read during the service. It is not a typical marriage text but one all Christians should be reminded of and take comfort in more and more. I know for me, daily I am reminded of my own depravity and tendency toward sin. It usually comes out in the way I talk, as if I have all the answers and everyone else is wrong. Or in the way I criticize inappropriately those in leadership around me. And in warring against this sin I could rely on my own strength to correct it, but that would put too much power in my hands (and I wouldn't really be able to conquer it). But when I rest in the strength of the Lord, in what Christ has accomplished for me, then I am getting somewhere. Being a Christ followers is not easy. We are faced with life in a broken world as broken people. But we have

Before "Jesus take the wheel"

[vimeo] From the good folks at Door of Hope in Portland.  Jesus, Savior, pilot me Over life's tempestuous sea; Unknown waves before me roll, Hiding rock and treacherous shoal. Chart and compass come from Thee: Savior, pilot me. Though the sea be smooth and bright Sparkling with the stars of night and my ships path be ablaze with the light of halcyon days still I know my need of thee! Savior, pilot me. As a mother stills her child, Thou canst hush the ocean wild; Boisterous waves obey Thy will When Thou say'st to them, "Be still!" Wondrous Sovereign of the sea, Savior, pilot me. When at last I near the shore, And the fearful breakers roar 'Twixt me and the peaceful rest, Then, while leaning on Thy breast, May I hear Thee say to me, "I will pilot thee."

Giving up the Bink

Stacy and I have decided that it is time for our two-year-old to lose the pacifier. She has only been allowed to have it a nap and bed time but it has been amazing to me to watch her grow out of the need for her "bink." She honestly knows nothing else. She has always had the bink to help her sleep and the first couple of nights were rough as she learned to sleep without it. But she is growing up and she doesn't "need" the bink anymore. This morning during devotions I was wondering what things I have added to my faith that act as my bink. While some outside of the faith would claim that Christ is a pacifier, I would agree only he is not just a pacifier but my breathe, my food, my shelter -he is more than momentary comfort, he is everything. But there  are things we tend to use as "pacifiers," if we don't have them all is wrong in the world. It could be music style, Bible translation, just the right books, the right technology or the right people for

Politics and the Pulpit

As a rule, I don't think there is much room for churches to be involved in politics. Often when I have conversations about the topic people assume it has something to do with my previous political life when in actuality it has more to do with how I read the Bible and evaluate the early church and apostolic directives, which I don't find compelling in view of political involvement. We are in a season now where the issue of the day in Washington is same-sex marriage. In evaluating how a church, or leaders of the church, should interact with such an issue I really appreciate JD Greear's message to his church. It is full of grace and clear statements of truth and might serve as a good model for other churches wading into the issue. "I also want Summit members to know that our elder team believes there is room for disagreement on this. Whether or not homosexuality is sinful is not up for debate at our church, but sincere Christians might disagree on whether this  particula


At this week's ABIDE gathering I taught on combating weariness in our lives as the Lord renews our strength. A big part of doing that is preaching to yourself, much like the Psalmist in 42:5. You can listen to the sermon here . This song was more than appropriate to hear at the end of the evening during a worship audition. Listen to it and be satisfied .