Showing posts from October, 2012


Today we celebrate a reclamation of the gospel. The truth of grace freely given to those that could never deserve it. After centuries of works and effort, the gospel first preach was given to men and women under decades of oppression and corruption. Let us be a generation that reclaims this truth of Christ's finished work more and more. Let us suffer well. Let us live in our affluence well. Let us minister well. Let us stare at the glory of God until we see it. From the foundation that has been laid for us, let us continue to build our faith on Christ alone.

Walk this way

I am enjoying a book for class on the life of Christ. "Sitting at the feet of Rabbi Jesus" gives some clarity on the significance of the first century context in which Jesus did ministry. Reading on discipleship, this struck me: "To follow a rabbi meant something other than sitting in a classroom and absorbing his lectures. Rather, it involved a literal kind of following, in which disciples often traveled with, lived with, and imitated their rabbis, learning not only from what they said but from what they did - from their reactions to everyday life as well as from the manner in which they lived. The task of the disciple was to become as much like the rabbi as possible ." I think this has multiple implications. First it is the overall realization that we are to be disciples of Jesus. We follow him and go where he will take us. In the process we become more like him. Perhaps more practically for us though is how we interact with the thought of what it means to make d

Sing the whole hymn bro!

In too many a worship center these days hymns make a cameo appearance. It usually entails sining the chorus on repeat with one verse or none. But there is such richness and truth in the great hymns that we should feel let down when we don't encounter them in their totality. I appreciate our ABIDE worship leader, Jon Lemondola, because he loves hymns and is willing to teach us and lead us through them. This week he chose "Nothing but the blood." I bet you can sing the chorus, but can you recite all five verses? It is full of truth and refreshing. In fact, the hymn preaches and makes it increasingly difficult for us to preach works or something other than the gospel first delivered to us... It is even hard to find a video with the whole thing! What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus; What can make me whole again? Nothing but the blood of Jesus. Oh! precious is the flow That makes me white as snow; No other fount I know, Nothing but

Looking and moving forward

" Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead,    I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.    Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you ."  Philippians 3:12-15 This week I have had more than one conversation about moving toward Christ and his promise over and above looking back and analyzing sin and brokenness in the past. We are called to repentance, confessing and turning from sin, and then a life of belief that has us looking and moving forward in our faith which in turn makes us more like Jesus. Too often we can come up with cute strategies to conquer our lives. And in these strategies we confuse the work of grace with

Lonely Authenticity

Nick Bogardus of Mars Hill OC has a post on Resurgence about Millenials and the fact that they are striving for authenticity but really just replicating previous generations attempts to be fulfilled. He ends with the need in the midst of it all. Identity in Christ. "Until Millennials come to trust Jesus, they will live life like Facebook: confusing connection for intimacy, and a self-edited presentation of themselves online for really being known. Until then, they will continue to confuse recycling for justification, simple living for sanctification, and gardening for the in-breaking of God’s kingdom." "Pastors and readers, Millennials need the gospel of Jesus Christ. Only when they understand the depth of their sin in view of the greatness of God’s love and the tremendous truth that through the cross of Jesus Christ their identity is now in Christ can they actually be authentic." "Only in knowing Jesus can we be fully authentic. Only when we are loved as we a

To Hope in God

Bob Kauflin of  Sovereign Grace shares the goal of raising up the next generation. Let us be about this... HT: C.J. Mahaney

In the Middle of Nowhere...

Last week I had the privilege of visiting one of our partner church in John Day, Oregon. Cornerstone Christian Fellowship is a church of around 100 people faithfully pursuing Christ in the middle of nowhere... I mean Eastern Oregon! The little town of 1800 (fewer people than are at Bethel on a Sunday) has close to 17% unemployment and it's share of timber history. And like any community - it is ripe for the truth of the gospel! My friends at Cornerstone are doing church without significant resources or thousands of people to send on mission but they are making a difference in the community and making much of Jesus. I was refreshed to be with Levi and his elders, Don and Andy. These are great men sacrificing much because they have gained much in their savior. It was a challenge to me in my comfort and laziness - the things I let distract me are not even on their radar. Cornerstone is truly a gospel outpost and we are blessed to call them partners.

What we are singing...

Proud of our Bethel Worship peeps for creating and singing truth.  

Shared Purpose

Last week we had the honor of hosting my friend Heather Zempel at our leadership event. Heather is Discipleship Pastor at National Community Church in Washington, DC where Stacy and I attended before we moved West. I have reviewed her book here already but Heather's talk on the messiness of community was spot on and enriched the lives of our leaders. I appreciate Heather's humor and her challenge to us as Christians to never shy away from the "mess" we humans are prone to make. Heather and I usually hang out with people on opposite ends of theological camps but I believe our purpose is the same - to see lives transformed by Jesus. The best compliment I received from the event was when one of my key leaders said "I see why you brought her here, she sees the gospel as central to our lived like you do." I pray that remains true! If you are looking for someone to challenge you assumptions and point you in the direction of following Christ, book Heather Zempel

Your church isn't that attractive anyway...

Jared Wilson on how "seeker"churches started out well-intentioned: "There is something fundamentally wrong with the attractional church paradigm — biblically and therefore theologically — but these days I think there is a very real practical dysfunction in the “fog and lasers” and silly movie tie-ins and all the rest that people discipled within the system don’t even notice (any more). At its beginning, the attractional church (or “seeker church” or whatever you want to call it) was about getting people in the doors to then hear the gospel of Christ’s finished work. It was what we might call “the ol’ bait and switch.” Only, increasingly, the gospel of Christ’s finished work became relegated to the end of a sermon, then the end of a series, then saved just for special occasions, ultimately replaced by the shiny legalism of moralistic therapeutic deism and lost altogether." Challenging truth. Do we need to be so slick if we never preach the gospel? Wilson goes on: &q


I don't want to guilt any of us but this is good stuff. [youtube=]

Leaders are vulnerable

My good friend Will Johnston attended Catalyst this year so you didn't have to! He has notes from each session here and they are worth the browse. Specifically he highlighted the talk by Patrick Lencioni about his new book Advantage. To save you time reading here is the gist . My big take away: leaders are vulnerable. "When you have one person on the team who can't be vulnerable, it changes the entire dynamic of the team.  We know this from sports, right?  One guy in 50 on a football team can poison the team.  If that's the case, what does that do for our leadership teams, our church teams?The only way we can get to vulnerable is if the leader goes first.  It's a leap of faith folks, and it's not comfortable.I once worked with a leader who could not do this.  He's famous and brilliant and intimidating.  So no one on his team ever gave him feedback.  So we did 360 reports, but he didn't want to share the results.  So the head of HR got him to reluctantl

What is our Hope in Life?

I have been away from the blog for too long. Minutia. But this is good from Tim Keller. "He gave himself wholly for us and now we must give ourselves wholly to him" See the video . [vimeo] HT: New City Catechism