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Showing posts from 2008

The Dissection of a Sin

The other day, I found myself in an awkward situation. I observed a mini feud between two friends, and realized that I had unwittingly thrown myself in the middle of it. I knew I was in a place where I would appear guilty.

What did I do? I asked one friend to not let on that I took part in it, so as to relieve me of any appearance of guilt. Now, let me say, I wasn't guilty. At that point I had done nothing wrong, I just knew it would appear that I had to the other person. So, I manipulated the situation to 'clarify' my innocence.

What's the problem with that? A lot. I sensed it in my soul immediately.

First, my manipulation meant I didn't trust God to reveal my innocence in the situation. I trusted my own craftiness. I did not trust in God's sovereignty over all circumstances. This trust in self rather than God seems to be at the heart of a lot of my sin.

Second, I showed cowardice. Instead of being willing to face up to the situation no matter how bad it looked, a…

A Travellers Choice

A message for you traveler who’s not traveled so long
Some tidings I bring you, and present them in song
Soon the road takes a turn, and the turn grants a fork
You will need choose a path, a difficult work

You may choose the direction that is journeyed by most
You’ll find plenty of company, ‘A fine path’ they all boast
Or instead you may choose the path overgrown
Rare will be company, you shall go mostly alone

But a word I must give you, I advise you to heed
The outcome of the paths and the direction you lead
Young lad please consider, think carefully with haste
For one is toward life, and the other toward waste

If you choose the direction, where most have tread feet
The passage will be broad, it will be steady and mete
You’ll face little challenge and the adventure will be ease
Flattering tongues and wise men, will be not in the least:

“The journey you’ve set on, and now just begun
Will face good times many, in not long we’ll be done
There’ll be merriment and gladness and smiles to g…

Silencing the Drums

Jesus spoke of a horrible place called the Valley of Hinnom. By his time it had become a trash heap, used to burn unwanted waste, such as animal carcasses. The place was continually burning in order to keep disease from spreading, and provided a picture of judgement Jesus used to describe 'hell'.
But the Valley of Hinnom, or Gehenna, had a notorious history to it. Before it became a trash heap it was a center for the worship of the pagan god Molech. The things that went on there would be enough to make even the most insensitive squeam. Fathers would offer their children to be burned alive as child sacrifices. Of course what father could stand and listen to the horrifying screams of the child he offers up? But the priests had a solution to this problem. They would bang drums to drown out the screams of the innocent. It is enough to give you nightmares. The deafened fathers, the cold-hearted priests, the screaming babies. You can almost hear the sound of the drums...drums...dru…

Till We Have Faces

I just finished a book by C S Lewis called Till We Have Faces. Some have said it is his best work. I might agree. It is amazing how shallow we have come to think about God today, compared to people like Lewis.

The book is a retelling of a Greek myth. In the myth Psyche, a beautiful young woman marries Cupid the son of Aphrodite. There are two parts to Lewis' retelling of the myth. First, is his argument against the gods. He said he had been thinking of this part of the book since he was a boy. Orual, Psyche's sister and virtually mother, loses Psyche to 'the gods'. The 'god' who Psyche is united with is mysterous: is he hideous or is he beautiful? Orual voices her argument against the gods:

“Do you think we mortals will find you gods easier to bear if you’re beautiful? I tell you that if that’s true we’ll find you a thousand times worse. For then (I know what beauty does) you’ll lure and entice. You’ll leave us nothing; nothing that’s worth our keeping or your t…

Stuff Happens by Religion

I loved this (yes I changed the word 'stuff' from an expletive)

Buddhism: If stuff happens, it's not really stuff.

Islam:If stuff happens, it's the will of Allah.

Hinduism: This stuff happened before.

Judaism: Why does this stuff always happen to us?

Catholicism: Stuff happens because you're bad.

T.V. Evangelism: Send more stuff.

Atheism: No stuff.

Jehovah's Witness: Knock knock, stuff happens.

Christian Science: Stuff happens in your mind.

Agnosticism: Maybe stuff happens, maybe it doesn't.

Existentialism: What is stuff anyway?

The Boston Celtics and life

I'm a huge Celtics fan. Been one since I was a boy. This year was magical for me to see the Celtics win the whole thing. I'm glad the season is over, for the simple reason that I spent way too much time watching games (pre-season, season, and post-season). But I have to say I learned alot about life and ministry from watching the Celtics. I'm serious, this isn't a stretch either. In fact, Jess was telling me how happy she was that she could point to the Celtics as a model for sportsmanship in talking to our son. Here's a list of characteristics that I think the Celtics displayed that transfer over to other aspects of life:

1) Be willing to make big changes. The celtics were the 2nd worse team in the league last year until they made HUGE changes in the off season. They basically pulled a 180 in terms of their game plan and took enormous risks. Jobs, futures, big money, and whatever else was on the line, and they did it anyway. They took a lot of heat for it.

2) Leader…

My attempt at fiction: A Parable of Ogres

There once lived a group of ogres, ugly as can be. Their favorite past time was to laugh at how horribly ugly ogres look. They would mock their large humped back figures, their big crooked noses, their sharp yellow teeth, their long pointy ears, and their lime-green skin, which was covered with pimples. At times this laughter turned to all out ecstasy. The ogres would fall to the ground and laugh and cry and shake their heads with delight, all at the terrible and grotesque appearance of an ogre.

Then one day, in the course of his hunting, an ogre found a most peculiar object, which he reasoned came from the land of humans (a great feat, as ogres don’t reason much). He went to go show the other ogres and gloat about his new treasure. It was shiny and round and flat. But when the ogres looked more closely at the object, they began to see images and pictures of ogres inside the object. At first they began to fight over the little treasure, thinking it was magic. They …

Does Church History Matter?

In a so called unprecedented age, where all of Christianity is re-inventing itself, and all of Christian doctrine is up for re-writing, one must ask the question "Does church history matter?" (Just to write this almost makes me cringe at how unbelievably near-sighted my generation has become!)
If we say 'yes it matters' too emphatically, the response will be "Why are you Protestants then?" Didn't Luther radically depart from centuries of theological teaching. One common criticism against Luther (and the Reformation) was "Can you alone be right and the whole world be wrong?" And, when Luther talks about Sola Scriptura, isn't he saying Scripture is all that matters?
A few things about Luther. First, his Sola Scriptura argument was not that Scripture is the only authority for the church, but that Scripture alone is the final authority for the church. According to Luther, there can be, indeed should be, lesser authorities, including pastors, do…

What would you want in a New Service?

At FBC we are thinking about adding a new service, open to everyone but geared towards 20-30-40 year olds. The gospel remains the constant, but how are we to be all things to all men that by all possible means we might save some. What would you want to see happening in a worship service that would allow style to work towards gospel-centeredness rather than as a hindrance from it? Examples
1. Breaking into small group prayer, more chance for fellowship
2. Better use of technology
3. Question/answer times during or after the message
4. More cultural engagement --dealing with what's going on in the world
5. More ancient liturgy, candles, incense, better tie into history
Any thoughts, lay them out.