Destinations

November 16, 2012

Here are Things You Don’t Want To Hear Your Worship Leader Say. We don’t have to worry about this one at Bowman. Ora has impeccable taste. Although, I have seen a cowbell lurking on stage.

Wonder who the Antichrist is. Here are the The 7 Most Popular Contenders for the Title ‘Antichrist.’

Here is an interesting article about how the government spends money. It is entitled Who is to blame for the unsustainable expansion of America’s welfare state? – a look at food stamps. If you wonder where all the money is going, this is worth checking out. I think you will be surprised.

You’ve got to watch and try the video below. I laughed out loud.

Destinations

November 15, 2012

I have three somewhat related posts this morning. Specifically, they are related to last weeks election. Knowing that many feel the sky is falling, I believe that these three posts will be encouraging.

First, in the “We’ve Been Here Before” category, this post entitled Were the 1960s when it all went wrong? reminds us that history is repeating itself. I think you will be encouraged by this piece. Here’s a quote that will give you a sense of where the article goes:

By Finke and Stark’s math, American church membership has steadily risen from 1776 to the 21st Century, with current rates approximately triple what they were in the days of the founding fathers.

Importantly, Mike Leake cautions against ungodly fear. Who is in control of all this anyway?

I care little about a discussion on Obama, Romney, or any third-party candidate. What I do care about are those professing to be believers being swept up in worldly fear.

Finally, Ray Ortlund encourages his readers to work towards a gospel culture. Isn’t the gospel America’s only real hope?

If we want this culture to thrive, we can’t take doctrinal short cuts. If we want this doctrine to be credible, we can’t disregard the culture. Churches where the doctrines of grace create a culture of grace bear living witness to the power of Jesus. I think of it very simply like this:

Gospel doctrine – gospel culture = hypocrisy
Gospel culture – gospel doctrine = fragility
Gospel doctrine + gospel culture = powerIf we want our churches to compel the attention of our mission field — and, of course, we do — then, brothers, build a gospel culture! Don’t settle for preaching the truth only. Build a relational ethos that feels like the gospel. It’s powerful.

Destinations

November 13, 2012

I have an eclectic assortment of stuff today.

First, here is an interesting piece entitled The Day My Dad Chopped Down an Idol. While the story is about actually chopping down an idol, the application works for all of us.

Of course, last week was an interesting week on a number of levels. This is true not only because of the election but also because of David Petraeus’ resignation. Al Mohler addresses both events. The most interesting part of what he wrote is about the election and demographics. For example, he writes: “Married women favored Mitt Romney (53%) rather than Barack Obama (46%). Non-married women, in contrast, favored Obama (67%) over Romney (31%). Note the scale of that reversal.” What is this about? Tom Chantry and Nathan Machel both discuss the election. Machel writes: “We looked at disasters like Greece and Spain and Argentina, and said ‘We want some of that!'” Chantry says, “Make no mistake about it: a vote for the President was a wicked act.  It is not sufficient to say that he is pro-abortion; the man is in favor of offing unwanted kids outside the womb as well.” As you can tell, neither writer minces words.

Justin Holcomb writes about the theology of Thomas Cranmer. Cranmer was clear about the gospel. This is worth reading. Here is a quote:

According to the Thomas Cranmer’s anthropology, what the heart loves, the will chooses, and the mind justifies. The mind doesn’t direct the will. The mind is actually captive to what the will wants, and the will itself, in turn, is captive to what the heart wants. The trouble with human nature is that we are born with a heart that loves ourselves over and above everything else in this world, including God.

Some of you will remember the book Peace Child. This video captures what has happend in the village where Don Richardson was missionary. Amazing grace!

Finally, here is a fun video encouraging people to attend a retreat. At least watch the first minute or so.

How We Voted

November 10, 2012

In my view, what is most interesting about this information is how Hispanics and Jews voted. Hispanics tend to be socially conservative and Obama is no friend of Israel. What am I missing?

(HT: Jesus Creed)

Destinations

November 9, 2012

After watching Fox News’ predictions Monday night about Romney’s big win, I came to the conclusion on Tuesday that they were either lying or mental poached eggs. I seldom ever watch Fox (or any news channel) and now I’m not sure I’ll ever go back. Ed Stetzer reminds us that all news organizations have biases. If we don’t keep this in mind, we will be disappointed. Perhaps more important, believers themselves end up with compromised reputations by believing and their biases.

The truth is that I enjoy Fox News. I’ve watched Huckabee for awhile, since spending some time with him a few years back. And, since O’Reilly and I grew up in the same hometown, I confess a certain appreciation for his banter. However, if you love Fox News more than you love facts, it undermines your credibility, and I think that is evident in the discussion all over the media today. I’m saddened that many Christians are being included in the groups that “create their own facts.”

Here is a thoughtful piece on abortion. I know most of us would like for the practice to be outlawed (I do). Yet, we realize that if this happens, many people’s lives will be, at the very least, disrupted. We can now come alongside those who might be considering an abortion and help meet their needs. We can help save lives now.

If you are a Christian, be patient with those who view things differently than you. But don’t just be patient, speak truth in love to those who are in need. Find ways to help those who are struggling through unplanned pregnancies. Investigate options for adoption and invest in the lives of those who are facing difficult choices.

Dane Ortlund quoting Francis Schaeffer reminds us of the way back to God when we sin.

Schaeffer:

Let us say that I have been living in the light of what God has been giving us for the present life. As a born-again child of God, I have been practicing the reality of true spirituality, as Christ has purchased it for us.

And then sin reenters.

For some reason my moment-by-moment belief in God falters–a fondness for some specific sin has caused me at that point not to draw in faith upon the fact of a restored relationship with the Trinity. The reality of the practice of true spirituality suddenly slips from me. I look up some morning, some afternoon, some night–and something is gone, something I have known: my quietness and my peace are gone. It is not that I am lost again, because justification is once for all. But . . . there is no exhibition of the victory of Christ upon the cross. Looking at me at this point, men would see no demonstration that God’s creation of moral rational creatures is not a complete failure, or even that God exists. . . .

At this point a question must arise: Is there a way back? Or is it like a fine Bavarian porcelain cup, dropped to a tile floor so that it is smashed beyond repair?

Thank God, the gospel includes this. The Bible is always realistic; it is not romantic, but deals with realism–with what I am. There is a way back, and the basis of the way back is nothing new to us. The basis is again the blood of Christ, the finished work of the Lamb of God: the once-for-all completed work of Christ upon the cross, in space, time, and history.

–Francis Schaeffer, True Spirituality (Tyndale House, 2011), 86-87; italics original

Election Post-Mortem

November 7, 2012

Given that political punditry isn’t my strong suit, I thought it best to point you to the thoughts of some of the best thinkers in Christendom.

First, here Russell Moore calls us to pray for the president. Amen.

So let’s pray for President Obama. Let’s not give ourselves to terms of disrespect, or every crazy conspiracy theory that floats across the Internet.

Second, Al Mohler weighs in with his typically insightful commentary. Here is a helpful thought:

No party can win if it is seen as heartless. No party can win if it appeals only to white and older Americans. No party can win if it looks more like the way to the past than the way to the future. The Republican Party could not defeat a sitting President with a weak economy and catastrophic unemployment. As columnist George Will has said, a party that cannot win under these circumstances might need to look for another line of work.

Finally, as usual Doug Wilson distills some 180 proof insight. This article is not for the faint of heart. Here are a couple of quotes:

Given the wickedness of key elements in Obama’s agenda (abortion, sodomy, thievery through taxation, etc.) we know that whatever the Lord is doing, it is for judgment and not for blessing. And in Scripture, whenever judgment is pending, or has begun, the appropriate response is repentance — not mobilization or organizing our remaining tatters.

Then echoing some of Mohler’s concerns, Wilson writes:

If you want this conservative to vote with you, stop trying to entice me with non-conservatives. Stop trying to feed bacon to your horse. One of the numbing numbers to come out of this fiasco is the fact that if Romney had simply gotten the same number of votes that McCain did, Romney would have won. This deflation happened without a robust third party candidate siphoning off a large number of votes. The results of this election should not cause us to think we need to “move to the center.” Two establishment Republican candidates in a row have gone down, and this second time the centrist lost to a failed presidency. I mean, think about it.

Doug never holds back, does he?

Destinations

November 6, 2012

Election Day is here. Sam Storms offers some Biblical sanity on this day of decision. The last point he makes is my favorite:

The confession that “Jesus is Lord” is not simply a declaration of faith and an acknowledgement that He is the Master of our lives individually and as a church. It is also a political statement.

Mark Altrogge discusses the art of being a connector. I appreciate what he encourages in this piece. We need way more of this at Bowman. Here is a taste:

We should find everyone interesting and be enthused about people, and see everyone as unique and created in God’s image.  We should “see possibility,” and while most of the world is “busily choosing whom (they) would like to know, and rejecting the people who don’t look right or live out near the airport,” we should “like them all.”

Ray Ortlund helpfully discusses where to draw the line about what is, and is not, essential Biblically. He teases out what things should we be certain about and what things we can be open about.

I love these Uncle Drew pieces: