Monthly Archives: January 2012

Tears and Laughter

We’ll put my Grandpa Bill in the ground today.

As we stand around his grave and wipe away tears, we’ll remember his life and celebrate his legacy. We’ll pray and laugh, reminisce and cry. And then we’ll watch as a box holding his lifeless body is planted carefully in the soil – awaiting the promised spring when the death of winter will give way to new life.

Bill waltzed into our life fifteen years ago when he swept my grandmother off her feet. Both of them had lost the spouses of their youth. Both of them loved Jesus and cherished their families. And then, as a result of God’s kindness, they committed to companionship. The way they loved and tended to one another was an oasis of grace in a parched world. Their friendship was forged through the twilight years of increasing physical difficulties, which made their devotion to one another all the more powerful.

But death is no respecter of persons. Sometimes it snatches away young people in their prime. Other times it waits patiently until the years chip away at our vitality, battering and bending the backs of even the heartiest soldiers. Either way, death doesn’t wait until love runs out. It is an intruder in our homes, shattering the shalom we seek to build. It steals away our minds and ravishes our bodies until we succumb to its cold, dark clutches.

Death is an enemy. But its success will be short-lived.

One week ago, I stood next to Grandpa Bill and …

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Worth a Look 1.31.12

Ross Douthat – “Government and Its Rivals”:

The White House attack on conscience is a vindication of health care reform’s critics, who saw exactly this kind of overreach coming. But it’s also an intimation of a darker American future, in which our voluntary communities wither away and government becomes the only word we have for the things we do together.

Some firms want to see your social media presence rather than your résumé:

Companies are increasingly relying on social networks such as LinkedIn, video profiles and online quizzes to gauge candidates’ suitability for a job. While most still request a résumé as part of the application package, some are bypassing the staid requirement altogether.

Thom Rainer – Ten Leaders Who Influenced Me:

I owe so much to so many. Countless men and women have influenced me over my 56 years. Some I have known well. Most I never met. But all have impacted my life in some way.

D. A. Carson’s “Reflections on the Church in Great Britain“:

At the final Great Assize, God will take into account not only all that was and is, but also what might have been under different circumstances (Matt 11:20ff). Just as the widow who gave her mite may be reckoned to have given more than many multi-millionaires, so, I suspect, some ministers in Japan, or Yorkshire, will receive greater praise on that last day than those who served faithfully in a corner of the world where there was more …

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Francis Schaeffer – 100 Years

100 years ago today, Francis Schaeffer was born. Here are some blog posts and articles that celebrate his contribution to evangelicalism.

Biographical

Know Your Evangelicals: Francis Schaeffer

Remembering Francis Schaeffer: On the Occasion of His 100th Birthday

Impact

Francis Schaeffer Cried for the Culture 

The Dissatisfaction of Francis Schaeffer

Schaeffer in His Own Words

What Would Francis Schaeffer Say to the Gospel-Centered Movement?

A Christian Can Defeat Himself in Two Ways

On the Need for Divine Power

On the Early Christians’ Exclusive Claims

Posted in Christianity, Church Issues, Theology | 2 Comments

Worth a Look 1.30.11

The Biggest Myth in Time Management:

The idea that we can get it all done is the biggest myth in time management. There’s no way Brad can meaningfully go through all his email and there’s no way any of us are going to accomplish everything we want to get done.

Face it: You’re a limited resource.

Spurgeon on counting numbers:

I found these thoughts from Charles Spurgeon’s book on preaching evangelistically, The Soul Winner, to be particularly helpful and remarkably relevant to contemporary discussions. Spurgeon had the rare combination of being one of the most evangelistically successful, as well as doctrinally rich, preachers of his day. How we need more who can do both!

To Read Cover to Cover or Not? The Ethics of Reviewing Books:

I recently received an inquiry about the expectations of book reviewers – are you meant to read the book under examination in full? Perhaps to some the answer is self-evident (“yes!”), and I follow this practice in general, but there are some exceptions.

Missing “March for Life” Photos Discovered:

Around 7 p.m. on Thursday, three days after the March for Life, the folks at CBS found some pictures of pro-lifers to include, rather after the fact. So now about half of the slides are of the hundreds of thousands of pro-lifers who descended on the mall and about half are of the roughly dozen or so pro-choicers who protested that same march. And for this, which is still a ridiculous use of a slideshow, …

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Hanging Upon the Life-Giving Cross

O Master and Lord, Jesus Christ our God,
We recall your hanging upon the life-giving cross,
as You opened the way into Paradise for the repentant thief,
and destroyed death by death:

Be merciful to us,
Your humble and sinful and unworthy servants.
For we have sinned and transgressed,
and we are not worthy to lift up our eyes and look at the height of heaven,
since we have forsaken the path of Your righteousness
and have walked according to the desires of our own hearts.

But we appeal to Your boundless goodness,
spare us, O Lord, according to the abundance of Your mercy,
and save us for the sake of Your holy name.
Pluck us from the hand of the adversary,
forgive us our sins,
and kill our fleshly lusts,
that putting off the old man, we may put on the new,
and may live for You, our Master and Protector.

For You, O Christ our God, are the true joy and gladness of those who love You
and unto You we ascribe glory, together with Your Father who is without beginning,
and Your most holy, good and life-giving Spirit,
now and forever. Amen.

- adapted from Basil the Great, A. \D. 330-379

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"My Measly Opinion"

In Talking the Walk, Marva Dawn recounts an interesting conversation:

Once, a few years ago at a youth convention, a lovely young lady came earnestly to talk with me. She asked me what I thought about a certain matter in sexual ethics. I answered her with the most careful biblical reading and ethical nuancing I had gained in years of training.

She responded, “Well, I just wanted to know your opinion.”

“That wasn’t my opinion,” I replied. “If I had given you my opinion, it would have been the opposite because I really would like to escape these biblical truths and say what pleases everybody. I tried to tell you as faithfully as I could what all my studies have discerned God is saying. That’s much more sound, more reliable, more eternally true than my measly opinion.”

She looked at me in shock. How could anyone question the importance of personal opinion? How could anyone give an answer different from her own private feelings? Is there really such a thing as public truth?

Yes, there is. And truth’s name is God.

Posted in Quotes of the Week | 5 Comments

Trevin’s Seven

Links for your weekend reading:

1. Ten Actors Who Hated Their Own Films

2.  James MacDonald: Bishop Jakes, 2nd Decisions, and Coming Home

3. Ed Stetzer: “On Heretics and Helpfulness”

4. C. S. Lewis and the Power of Story

5. Five Ways to Find a Mentor

6. The Doctrine of the Trinity in a Nutshell

7. Gingrich and Reagan

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Grace and Truth Beyond the Elephant Room

Let me say at the outset that I’m honored and humbled to blog about this event. I realize I’m just a 30-year-old guy who loves Jesus, wants to resource His Bride, and carry His mission forward. And the fact that some of the men involved in the Elephant Room have been serving Christ longer than I’ve been alive gives me tremendous pause. If there’s one thing I learned during my missionary years in Romania, it’s that whenever I was quickest to criticize, it was usually because I lacked a true sense of perspective. I don’t want to make that mistake here.

Instead, I want to lay out a few guidelines for how we go about processing The Elephant Room.

Guidelines

First, we should aim for grace and truth in the way we act toward one another and speak of one another. We need clarity and charity, but too often we choose one at the expense of the other. Either our emphasis on clarity causes us to act uncharitably toward one another or our emphasis on charity leads us to paper over distinctions and leave things muddled rather than clarified. The goal of this post is to push for greater clarity and precision, but with heartfelt charity and good intentions.

Secondly, we should assume the best about people’s motives. That means that we ought to assume the best of motives on the part of James MacDonald in his hosting of this event. Likewise, we ought to assume the best of motives on the part of …

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Elephant Room 2: Live-Blog Session 8

Speed Round

Speakers: All pastors

Disclaimer: This is merely a summary of my notes, taken down live during the event. They may not be word-for-word and will need to be seen on video in order for their context to be fully understood. I will be updating this post every few minutes as the session goes on.

MacDonald: Crawford, how did you come to know Jesus Christ?

Loritts: I was 13. My sister was older than me. I saw the change in her life. She invited me to church, and when I went there I saw the infectious love of the Lord Jesus in those people. I came back the next Sunday and was saved.

Furtick: My mom raised me in church. I got dragged to a Baptist revival when I was 16. A guy there named Jody took me aside and talked to me about having an authentic relationship with Jesus. And I got addicted to what I am doing today – trying to influence people for Jesus.

Cordeiro: I hid from Christians because they seemed freaky. I heard music from Christians, and I thought, they must not be that bad. It opened my heart. I still use music and arts to present the gospel.

MacDonald: I gave my life to Jesus Christ when I was 7 at a Sunday night service. I went home and asked my parents, and my mom led me to Christ. I wandered from the Lord, but He never let go of me. I know that I know that I am a child …

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Elephant Room 2: Live-Blog Session 7

Topic: “We Can Work It Out”

What responsibilities do we have to local pastors who exist outside our theological boundaries, but within the body of Christ? How do you confront a brother in error while showing fidelity to truth, and to the truth about biblical relationship? Given the freedom to preach your conscience, is there anywhere you wouldn’t preach? Does a pastor’s association really communicate endorsement, or is that just a carryover from fundamentalism? How can pastors practically encourage/challenge those who are different than they are? How do the benefits of broader community weigh against the dangers of confusing people about your own convictions?

Speakers: James MacDonald and Steven Furtick, moderated by Mark Driscoll

Disclaimer: This is merely a summary of my notes, taken down live during the event. They may not be word-for-word and will need to be seen on video in order for their context to be fully understood. I will be updating this post every few minutes as the session goes on.

Driscoll: This is a summary of your motivation and heart for this event, James. We’re talking about Christian associations and conversations. Think in terms of national and state borders. We’re talking about how big your world is. Pentecostal, Baptist, Reformed. Is that your state or is that your nation? If it’s your nation, you may declare war on those within the family of evangelicalism but not part of the nation you call home. If it’s your state, then within those states you see people who do love Jesus but have …

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