Friday, November 20, 2009

Angola Prison

Here is a powerful post by John Piper on his experience at Angola Prison in Lousiana, the largest maximum security prison in America.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Eight Great Date Nights

Hey guys....check out this article from Christianity Today on eight great date night ideas.They all look pretty good to me, with the exception of the reading short stories to one another. Don't think I am going to try this out anytime soon.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Quote of the Day

Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare. - Japanese Proverb

Is Gambling a Sin?

What is your answer to this question? I encourage to think through the answer first, and then read these posts by Phil Johnson and Kevin DeYoung.

Is Gambling OK? Don't Bet On It

Silent Killers and Silent Christians

Tweets by Ed Stetzer

Ed Stetzer is the President of Lifeway Research and an extremely influential figure in evangelicalism. Here are some of his top Tweets:

If you can learn to order at Starbucks, then you can learn theological language at church. - 10/25/09

In church life, the people that are rocking the boat are hardly ever the ones rowing it. -7:13 AM Oct 20th

Even the unchurched know 2 things: Jesus loved the poor & the sick, so they're confused when they don't see us doing either. -10:18 AM Oct 3rd

We've jazzed up the music, spiced up the sermons, and spruced up the buildings but the wheat still isn't harvesting itself. -1:53 PM Sep 30th

Hoping to make it to worship tonight, but my wife drives the speed limit. Ugh. Like Sammy Hagar, I can't drive 55. ;-) -1:14 PM Aug 16th

Just walked on the set where Hee Haw was filmed. Now I can die; my life is complete. ;-) -7:22 PM Aug 4th

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

'The Shack' Book Review

I have heard many Christians say that they loved William P. Young's The Shack. If this is you, or if you are considering reading it, I would recommend that you read this detailed review by Tim Challies.Suffice it to say, The Shack gives us lots to talk about.

Real Freedom

I hear alot of debate surrounding whether or not humans have true freedom of the will. Here is a great point on this topic by John Piper:

Full freedom is what you have when no lack of opportunity, no lack of ability, and no lack of desire prevents you from doing what will make you happiest in a thousand years. In order to be free in the fullest sense you have to have opportunity, ability, and desire to do what will make you happy in a thousand years. Another way to say it would be that there are four kinds of freedom, or better, four stages of freedom on the way to the full freedom all of us long for: the freedom of opportunity to do what we can, the freedom of ability to do what we desire, and the freedom of desire to do what will bring us unending joy.

Let's take sky-jumping, for example. Suppose you are on your way to the airport to go up for your first real jump, but your car hits a pothole on Hiawatha, you have a blowout, and run into a telephone pole. You are no longer free to jump whether you have the ability or not, because the opportunity passes while you wait for the tow truck. You lack the freedom of opportunity.

Or suppose you do make it to the airport, but you have no ability at all—you have never studied sky-jumping and never learned the first thing about how a parachute works. The opportunity is there, but you don't have the freedom of ability—you are in bondage to your own lack of know-how.

But suppose that you make it to the airport, you've been to school and been trained and have all the abilities needed, and you take off for your first jump. But as soon as you look down, all your desire vanishes and in its place comes a tremendous fear. The opportunity is there, the ability and know-how are there, but you don't have the freedom of desire. The interesting thing about the freedom of desire is that you might be able to go ahead and jump without it, but it won't be a free act. For example, you might feel so humiliated in front of your instructor (or girlfriend) that the desire not to be humiliated overcomes the desire not to jump. So you jump. But the emotional experience is not what we call freedom. You are acting under very uncomfortable external constraints. You are like Herod when his step-daughter asked for the head of John the Baptist. He didn't want to kill John, but he wanted even less to be shamed before his guests. So he acted, but not with the freedom of desire. You have the freedom of desire when you do what you love to do.

That's the way a lot of professing Christians try to keep the commandments of Christ. They don't really delight to do them, but they feel some uncomfortable constraints like social pressures or fear of hell or desire to impress someone. So they go through outward motions of obedience, but the desire of their hearts is fixed somewhere else. They do not enjoy the freedom of desire which Christ gives when he is being formed in the heart (Galatians 4:19).

But there is one last requirement for full freedom. Suppose you get to the airport with no obstacle; you have all the know-how necessary; you look out the door at the tiny clusters of silos and barns and farmhouses and just can't wait to jump. You have freedom of opportunity, freedom of ability, and freedom of desire. So you jump. And as you free fall, unbeknown to you, your parachute malfunctions and will not open. Are you free? In three senses, yes. But in that critical fourth sense, no. What you are doing so happily, so freely, is going to kill you. Whether you know it or not, you are in bondage to destruction. It would be a mockery to exult in the freedom of an exhilarating free fall if you knew it was leading to destruction. In order to be fully free, it is not enough to have opportunity, ability, and desire to act. The acts you desire and perform have to lead to life, indeed, eternal life not destruction.

This is why it is naïve for a Christian young person to envy the so-called freedom of those who pitch themselves out the window of sin and exult for a season in the exhilaration of free fall sex or free fall greed, or free fall drugs or free fall luxury. They will pass away like a vapor, but those who do the will of the Lord will abide for ever (1 John 2:17). True freedom is not just the opportunity and ability to do what you desire to do. It is the opportunity, ability, and desire to do what will make you happy in a thousand years.

Therefore, true Christians are the freest people in the world. And Paul is fighting with all his might in Galatians to expose the teaching of the Judaizers for what it really is: slavery. For Paul, the experience of freedom is not icing on the cake of Christianity. Freedom in Christ is Christianity. It is a matter of eternity. That's the first point of the allegory. So let's see if we can understand it and strengthen our stand in freedom.

Read the whole sermon here.

Monday, November 16, 2009

America's Best Leaders

US News & World Report has named it's best American leaders of 2009. Watch the slide show here.

Kill Your Stress

Dustin Neeley has a great post on killing stress at The Resurgence. Here are his four points:

1. Live your Bible.
2. Listen to your body.
3. Listen to your wife and kids.
4. Learn your limits.

Read the whole post here.

Friday, November 13, 2009

The Power of Written Encouragement

Here is a insightful report on a school teacher who writes yearly birthday notes to all of his students -- present and past. Note the power of written (not e-mail) encouragement. (For you Bethelites, Mr. Stroup is the father of Jelena Blocker, our Children's Ministry Assistant)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Cohabitation Study

Lifeway Research recently completed a study on cohabition. Ed Stetzer blogs about it in todays post:

Remember that Bon Jovi song from the late 80s, "Living in Sin?"

Well, I'm guessing half of you do.

It's about "love" justifying living together as a married couple, without a marriage covenant.

The song shouts, "I call it love, they call it living in sin!"

Remember? Rock ballad, black and white video?

Anyway, people are still talking about it and more people are living together today than they were back in the 1980s. At LifeWay Research, we wanted to know more.

Read the full post here.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Sexual Detox

Tim Challies has taken a series of recent posts from his blog and turned them into a couple of free e-booklets. You can download them here:

Sexual Detox for the Single Guy
Sexual Detox for the Married Guy

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Free PDF Chapters of Mark Driscoll's Books

Get free chapters of Driscoll's latest books here.

John Piper - Why I abominate the prosperity gospel

Africa and the Prosperity Gospel

Watch this interesting video on the Prosperity in Africa, and then follow up with the theological problems in my next post.

Letting Go of The Fear of Failure

Some good words from Craig Groeschel at

The fear of failure paralyzes too many people.

I’ve found one of the best gifts God can give a leader is the gift of failure.

Too many of us are not doing what we feel called to do because we’re afraid to fail.

As I observe the people around me, it seems the most effective have failed far more times than the least effective.

The people making the biggest impact seem to:

1) Try something outlandish.
2) Fail.
3) Learn.
4) Adjust.
5) Try something that works better.

Failure is never final. It is often the first step to success.

If you haven’t failed in awhile, why don’t you try something crazy and see what happens.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Free E-Book on Discipleship

The Resurgence is offering a free book on discipleship by Winfield Bevins entitled Grow: Reproducing Through Organic Discipleship. Download it here.

Steven Curtis Chapman's New Album

It's been 18 months since Steven Curtis Chapman lost his youngest daughter, 5 year old Maria Sue, in a tragic automobile accident. Chapman has just released his first album since her death entitled Beauty Will Rise.

Christianity Today's Mark Moring recently interview the CCM artist about the album, as well as his loss. Read the interview here.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Is Polygamy Biblical?

If you have ever asked the question, Mark Driscoll answers it here.

Keller's Counterfeit Gods

I just recently began reading Tim Keller’s latest book, Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power and the Only Hope That Matters. I am only 1/3 of the way through the book, but I can tell it is going to be one that I will highly recommend. As everyone of us struggles with some type(s) of idol, the book holds something for everyone. Here is one excellent excerpt:

Commenting on God’s command to Abraham to sacrifice Isaac: “From this perspective we see that God’s extremely rough treatment of Abraham was actually merciful. Isaac was a wonderful gift to Abraham, but he was not safe to have and hold until Abraham was willing to put God first. As long as Abraham never had to choose between his son and obedience to God, he could not see that his love was becoming idolatrous. In a similar way, we may not realize how idolatrous our career has become to us, until we are faced with a situation in which telling the truth or acting with integrity would mean a serious blow to our professional advancement. If we are not willing to hurt our career in order to do God’s will, our job will become a counterfeit god.”

Monday, November 2, 2009

Leadership Workshop

On Wednesday, November 11th, is hosting a 2-hour regional leadership workshop at the Holiday Inn Express in Schererville. Bethel's Executive Director of Operations, Jim Killgore, and Ron Porter, TCL Executive Director will be sharing from their more than 50 years of combined leadership experience. Here are the topics:

Session 1: Capture a For-Profit Kingdom Vision
Session 2: Eat Problems for Breakfast

You can get more information and register here.

Desiring God free on Audio is offering John Piper's Desiring God on audio for free this month.

Piper has penned many wonderful books, but this one tops the list, and is foundational for pretty much everything else he writes.

Download the book here.



About Me

I am a husband to Eva, father of 4, pastor, and most of all passionate follower of Jesus Christ. The focus of my life is to make the most of every opportunity God gives me to bring glory to Him. Outside of the time spent in my role as a pastor, I spend most of my time with my family -- a good deal of that coaching various sports teams that my children are involved with. Every fall and winter you will find me rushing to the woods of Indiana and West Virginia in search of a monster whitetail buck.