Monthly Archives: January 2010

Quick Hits #3

1. What’s your take on the iPad? I think it looks pretty cool, but I have no idea why someone would need one. But then again, I’m the guy who doesn’t have an iPhone or a PDA of any kind. (I do, on the other hand, have a cellular telephone that allows me to make telephone calls from virtually anywhere, which is pretty awesome when you think about it.) I have my phone for calls and my laptop for portable computing. I don’t think I really need something in my pocket (or, given its size, in my shoulder sling?) that keeps me that connected. I’m cool with having nothing diversionary to do while waiting in lines.

2. The furor over the proposed Tim Tebow pro-life Super Bowl commercial is interesting. Free speech would seem to apply, especially since it’s not obscene material. But in general, I think the sort of approach the Tebow ad is said to take is problematic. Abortion’s potential to deprive us of a Beethoven (or a great college quarterback), I think, is a losing argument anyway, following the logic. How many aborted babies would have grown up to be deadbeat dads, child abusers, drunk drivers, or even serial killers? The point of the pro-life movement shouldn’t be protecting potential VIP’s and superpeople, but protecting lives because lives are precious.

3. The best blogger you’re (probably) not reading is Bob Spencer.

4. Please continue to pray for Michael Spencer. If you are able, I know he and …

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A Redeemed Haiti Will Rise From the Ashes

We will shout for joy when you are victorious and will lift up our banners in the name of our God. May the LORD grant all your requests.– Psalm 20:5

(click on the image for a larger, clearer picture)

Update: The boy in the picture’s name is Kiki, and his story is here. (HT: Bird)

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Hand in Hand

“There is no way to challenge idols without cultural criticism, and there is no way to do cultural criticism without challenging idols.”

– Tim Keller

HT: Jonathan Dodson via Brent Thomas

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A Missional Way for the Pro-Life Passion

Let me lay my cards on the table:

1) If you put overturning Roe v. Wade to a popular vote, I’m in line early ready to vote in favor of protecting the near half a million unborn babies killed each year, and if you’re a politician, the best way to lose my vote is to align with the pro-choice agenda.2) Nevertheless, I don’t believe laws — or the protests and petitions and politicking that seek to achieve them — are how we are going to eradicate abortion.

The emancipation of the slaves was necessary. But it didn’t end racism.

I am not proposing an either/or. What I’m proposing is that evangelicals take the harder route, adopt the harder cause, that we aim for Spiritual change of hearts more than we aim for legal stay of hands.

Here are some thoughts on how we may do this:

1. Gospel-centered preaching. You knew I was going to go there. Here’s the thing: Pastors who preach culture war receive Amens from the already convinced and almost nothing from everybody else. At its worst a steady dose of this creates an unhealthy “us vs. them” mentality that has us thinking of our enemies in ways the Sermon on the Mount strictly forbids. But pastors who proclaim the freedom from sin and abundant life in Christ lay groundwork for zeal for life, not just for winning political battles. A gospel-driven pro-life agenda means hating abortion because we love women and we love the unborn. That sounds like a …

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Be Courageous, Mr. President!

From last year’s anniversary of Roe v. Wade, John Piper urges our new president to be courageous on the matter of the slaughter of the unborn.

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A Fantastic Folly

The definition of insanity, so I’m told, is “repetition of the same thing with the expectation of different results.”

I am out of my mind about the gospel, though, so I’m going to preach it week in and week out, in season and out of season, until everybody gets saved or Jesus comes back.

If I don’t get you this week, maybe next. Your lack of response will not deter me. I’m a crazy person.

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If You Are Despairing of Life, Don’t Trust Yourself

I’ve been reading Richard Sibbes’s The Bruised Reed for the last couple of weeks. If you struggle with discouragement and depression, I highly recommend it.

Here is a short passage from my reading this morning:

We must not judge of ourselves always according to present feeling, for in temptations we shall see nothing but smoke of distrustful thoughts. Fire may be raked up in the ashes, though not seen. Life in the winter is hid in the root.

When all you see and feel is bleak and hopeless, do not trust what you see and feel. Do not trust your reasoning.

It sounds trite to say this, I know, but: Hang in there (somehow) and believe (even if you cannot feel) that God loves you and Christ died for you.

Also: Get some help.

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Songbirds in Haiti

You don’t need me to rehearse the devastation. Haiti is, for all intents and purposes, destroyed.

We have some in our church who have done mission work over the years in Haiti. A nurse who has done medical missions there was recalling large swaths of land void of trees. The poverty is so deep there, they have gone through the vegetation for fuel. The hunger is so desperate there, they have eaten all the birds.

She said there are no songbirds in Haiti, because they’ve cut down all the trees and eaten all the birds. That is as vivid a picture of the poverty in Haiti as I’ve heard.

It is materially true, but it is a threat of spiritual truth. Where is the hope in Haiti? How can the trees cry out if there are none? Who will speak into the hopelessness? Who will be the light in the darkness?

The Church will. As she always has. And as she always will. The Church was in Haiti before the earthquake, and the Church will still be there, long after Haiti has dropped off CNN’s radar, long after it has conversationally dried up around the international water cooler.

The Church is still in Indonesia, rebuilding after the tsunami. The Church is still in Louisiana and Mississippi, rebuilding after Hurricane Katrina. The Church is still in El Salvador after their earthquake. Still in Texas after Hurricane Ike. Still in the furthest reaches of the world.

The Church will be there because the omnipresent God is the …

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Pastors, Be Jesus-Full

There is a pastor whose Twitter feed I occasionally read, but I shouldn’t, because it absolutely drives me nuts. A large portion of my reaction is tied to my own issues, I’m sure, but I see in his broadcasts an almost pathological intention not to mention Jesus. And as I thirst for Jesus, I notice this withholding lots and lots of places everywhere else.I have been and always will be doggedly suspicious of pastors who rarely (or never) mention Jesus.

John Piper says, “What we desperately need is help to enlarge our capacities to be moved by the immeasurable glories of Christ.”

We ministers of the gospel — and Christians at large — can fumble this commission in three main ways:

1. We speak in vague spiritual generalities. Love. Hope. Peace. Joy. Harmony. Blessings. All disembodied from the specific atoning work of the incarnate Jesus and exalted Lord. It all sounds nice. It’s all very inspirational. And it’s rubbish. He himself is our peace. He himself is love. He himself is life. He does not make life better. He is life. Any pastor who talks about the virtues of faith, hope, and love, with Jesus as some implied tangential source, is not feeding his flock well.

2. We speak Christ as moral exemplar. We tell people to be nice because Jesus was nice. We tell them to be sweet because Jesus was sweet, good because Jesus was good, hard-working because Jesus was hard-working, loving because Jesus was loving. This is all well and good, …

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We Shall Do Greater Things is Not About Being Busy

Luke 5:16 tells us that “Jesus often withdrew to lonely places to pray.”

I’m thinking, first of all, that I don’t do that, at least, not “often” enough.

I’m also thinking that if Jesus did that, just how awesome do I think I am that I don’t?

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