Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Value of Rest!!!

After a long, hard, trying, and joyful semester I have been blessed with a week to rest and recoup before I begin full-time. This has been a great week so far even though it has been tremendously difficult to not go to the office to start on the many exciting ideas and tasks that are constantly brewing in my head. I guess that is somewhat of a good thing though because it shows me that I really love what I do. Just taking this week has been refreshing as well as great to spend time with my wife who did not get a whole lot of time over these last hectic weeks of the semester. By the end of the semester I was truly worn out, but this week has been a great reminder of why God created sabbath - for us. We need rest because we are not God. We are finite, feeble, flaccid humans who are not self-sustaining but dependent on God for all things. I am most looking forward to an upcoming day of prayer that I have set aside; this should be absolutely refreshing! So, in conclusion, God gave us the need for rest for our joy!

Friday, May 25, 2007

On Christian Celebrities

For it has been reported to me by Chloe's people that there is quarreling among you, my brothers. What I mean is that each one of you says, “I follow Paul,” or “I follow Apollos,” or “I follow Cephas,” or “I follow Christ” (1 Cor. 1:11-12).

My wife and I sometimes talk about how funny it is that every group or clique of Christians has their own "people" that they are into and their own group of books that everyone in that group has read. It's really amusing to hang out with people who are not in your group of friends and hear the different people that they follow and books they have all read. It can be quite awkward when one of them brings up somebody who you are not really familiar with and you reply, "Um...I'm not really familiar with that person." Its kind of funny to see the reactions that come, "What!? You mean you have never read...!?." Clearly, you are out of your element.

On the other hand it is quite sad when we come across those who are "super-spiritual" that say, "I don't read any other books except the Bible." This response is sad because often time the premise that this person is coming from is that no one else can teach them anything. It's sad because they are missing out on great treasures that God has given other men to share with the rest of us. It's sad because there may be a root of pride there that is stunting their spiritual growth.

Every group of Christians has their own Christian celebrities. For me and many people I hang out with they consist of people like: John Piper, R.C Sproul, John MacArthur, C.J. Mahaney, and some historical figures such as Edwards, Chambers, etc. I really appreciate the ministries of these men and cannot begin to tell you the impact they have had on my life. In fact, I would even say that I have been discipled from a distance by some of them (Piper and Sproul especially), but it is easy to take our eyes off of the Creator and focus them on the creature. I have sometimes found myself trying to become a better disciple of John Piper instead of Christ. I am often amazed at the biblical insight and wisdom that these men have. Thus, I must constantly remind myself (or usually my wife is great at reminding me in a loving way) that these are only men. It is great to glean and learn from their amazing godliness and knowledge and to follow them as they follow Christ, but I fear that sometimes we begin to make them "gods" in our own minds or our little sub-cultures (something I am sure these men would/do weep over).

We must praise God for the gifts that He has given us in these men and take in as much as we can from them. However, we must keep our eyes upon the one who is teaching us through them, Christ. So, we don't need to be like those who deem themselves as spiritually superior because they only read the Bible, but we must not replace the priority of Scripture reading and meditation with the thoughts and teaching of great saints around us or from history. Let us then, strive to strike that ever difficult balance to the glory of God.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The War at Home


This is a copy of a great email I received. The historical perspecitve that it brings to our current situation is amazing. I would also add on this list, Tokyo Jonathon Edwards (the presidential candidate - not the NE pastor) after denying that we are in a war on terror.


Anyone who remembers anything about World War II, or has studied anything about World War II, will understand and remember that during World War II, the Japanese developed a way to demoralize the American forces.

The Japanese psychological warfare experts developed a message they felt would work. They gave their psychological warfare script to their famous broadcaster "Tokyo Rose" and every day she would broadcast this same message packaged in different ways, hoping it would have a negative impact on an American GI's morale. What was that demoralizing message?

It had three main points:
1. Your President is lying to you.
2. This war is illegal.
3. You cannot win the war
Does this sound familiar?
Is it because---

Tokyo Hillary, Tokyo Harry, Tokyo Teddy, Tokyo Nancy, Tokyo Durbin, Tokyo Kerry, Tokyo Murtha, Tokyo Barack Hussein Obama Jr, Tokyo Rosie O'd, etc. have all learned from the former enemies of our country and have picked up the same message and are broadcasting it on:
Tokyo CNN, Wolf Blitzer; Tokyo ABC, Charles Gibson; Tokyo CBS, Katie Couric; Tokyo NBC, Brian Williams / Tim Russert…etc., to our troops?
The only difference is that they claim to support our troops before they try to demoralize them.

Come to think of it... Tokyo Rose told the American troops she was on their side, also.


Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Sister Centuries???

As I have been taking a break from my mad dash to finish a Distance Education class by Thursday I came across this intriguing and thought-provoking article by Neil Cole, author of Organic Church (a book I highly recommend). In the article he asserts that the 1st Century and the 21st Century are sister centuries. Check it out and tell me if you agree with his comparison and what you think this means for us today. Below is the link.

http://www.cmaresources.org/articles/sister_centuries.asp

Friday, May 18, 2007

James Dobson: You Have it Wrong

The following was taking from an article on cnn.com

{WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Religious conservative leader James Dobson will sit out the 2008 presidential election if former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani is the Republican presidential nominee, he wrote Thursday in an online column.

"If given a Hobson's -- Dobson's? -- choice between him and Senators Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama, I will either cast my ballot for an also-ran -- or if worse comes to worst, not vote in a presidential election for the first time in my adult life. My conscience and my moral convictions will allow me to do nothing else."}

First, for any who don't know me, I am not a liberal Christian who doesn't think that morals are important for a president or that we do not have a moral obligation to vote for the most God-honoring candidate possible. Second, I am by no means a Giuliani supporter. However, I do think that Dobson is dead wrong on this issue.

He is right not to support Giuliani for his immoral stances on gay marriage and abortion, but to say that he would not vote in the election if Giuliani is the candidate is wrong and it is wrong for him to portray the image that it is un-Christian to do so. You may say, "He never said it was un-Christian to vote for Giuliani." You are right he never said that, but given his position and influence, the comments he made portray that this is the case.

Okay, so why do I say he is dead wrong to say these things? Well, he clearly wants the president to be an evangelical Christian (as all evangelical Christians should) or to hold to the same values as evangelicals (which we all should as well) so that a Christian political agenda would move forward, thus making this a better country. When carried out to its end result his comments seem to say that if a Christian (or one who holds particular Christian values) is not on the ballot, he is not voting. This is where he has it wrong and he is not alone in having it wrong here because there are many other well-meaning Christians that share his view.

They have it wrong because they spend an extraordinary amount of time and resources seeking to transform our society through politics. Guess what, politics is never going to transform our society! The gospel is! Dobson and others like him who attend and hold "Christian" rallies and such in order to transform society need to revisit the book of Acts. Society is transformed through people coming to know Jesus as their Lord and Savior not through a bunch of self-interested, self-promoting, ego-driven politicians.

Thus, Dobson and others have a lot of misdirected passion that should be refocused on proclaiming the gospel through their words and works to the lost and broken people in our society. Don't get me wrong, as Christians we should work hard to help get the most God-honoring politicians elected, but if neither candidate in the general election holds to our moral views across the board, we are responsible to exercise the GOD-GIVEN privilege it is to vote for the candidate that will honor Christ most with his or her position, power, and influence. Chances are we will not get many evangelical candidates and even if we do we can't look to them for the answer to our country's problems - we must look to Jesus in the individual lives of our people. He is the real answer Mr. Dobson.

By the way, I am leaning toward a particular candidate right now (NOT Giuliani) but it is too early to post it here because it may come back to bite me in the weeks and months to come.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

God's Amazing Providence

Approximately one any a half years ago I approached Steve Best, Pastor of Wellspring Chapel, with a vision for a college minstry within the local church at Wellspring Chapel to reach out to Northern Illinois University with the gospel of Christ, while helping students to appreciate and love the ministry of the local church. He and the Elders at WC hired me on part-time to run this ministry and gave me an unbelievable amount of freedom to do so. I will forever be greatful to them for this opportunity. This has been an unbelievable experience in ministry while going through seminary at TEDS. Beginning June 1 I will be hired full-time as Pastor of Adult Discipleship. My wife Elizabeth and I never anticipated falling in love with the students and people of WC like we have and thus it is a GREAT blessing to see God's providence for Him to bring us the total opposite way from the direction we were looking to move one and a half years ago. God is truly good to us. We love the community and Christ-likeness that exists at WC as well as the vision of the Elders for our church.