Friday, April 29, 2011

The Royal Wedding

I won't be paying any attention to the Royal Wedding. Someone on my Twitter feed aptly put it this way: Since when is the wedding of an unemployed college grad living on government aid and living at grandmas "breaking news?"

Nevertheless, I know that many of are interested, so here are some good thoughts from Mike Cosper on the big event.

China says population rises to 1.339 Billion

The population in China grew by almost 80 million in the last decade, and doesn't seem to be showing any signs of slowing. What does this mean for the church, when hundreds  of millions of unreached people (and growing) are without the Gospel?

Thursday, April 28, 2011

40 Positive Reasons to Avoid Porn

Daniel Henderson shares 40 Positive Reasons to Avoid Porn:

1. I fully enjoy the pleasure of my love relationship with Christ.

2. I fulfill my true identity as a child of God.

3. I experience God's provision of empowering grace.

4. I enjoy my freedom in Christ to its fullest.

5. I avoid a life-pattern of deception.

6. I cultivate a soft and sensitive conscience.

7. I turn away from the solicitation of harlots in my heart.

8. I refuse the temptation of idolatry.

9. I prove to be a faithful steward of my money.

10. I prove to be a faithful steward of my time.

11. I abstain from any promotion and support of the pornography industry.

12. I preserve God’s gift of loving sexual expression for its intended purpose.

13. I protect the purity and power of my God-given imagination.

14. I develop disciplined character.

15. I guard the integrity of my Christian testimony.

16. I promote health and harmony in the body of Christ.

17. I cultivate a stronger resistance to future interpersonal sexual sin.

18. I nurture the proper biblical view of the sanctity of womanhood.

19. I relate to women as equals and persons of ultimate worth.

20. I learn to live in reality rather than fantasy.

21. I steer clear of unnecessary personal guilt and shame.

22. I cultivate a lifestyle of contentment and satisfaction.

23. I experience the blessing of living as a servant

24. I learn the relational skills of authentic intimacy.

25. I avoid future mental, emotional and spiritual scars on my life.

26. I experience the joy of the Christian life.

27. I lay up eternal rewards.

28. I learn to deal with the causes of my problems rather than treating symptoms.

29. I prevent potential temptations for others in my sphere of influence.

30. I honor the trust and prayer support of those who have invested in my spiritual life.

If I am married:

31. I avoid adultery in my heart.

32. I encourage my wife's trust.

33. I honor my vow of marital purity and faithfulness.

34. I keep my marriage union pure from fantasies of other women.

35. I communicate acceptance and honor toward my wife.

36. I avoid the pathway that could easily result in infidelity.

If I have children:

37. I minimize the risk of my children being exposed to pornography.

38. I model strong and genuine moral values for my children.

39. I avoid embarrassing and embittering my children.

40. I encourage all of the above positive qualities in their lives.

Read the whole thing here.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Great Quote from Doug Collins

Here is a great quote from Doug Collins, coach of the Philadelphia 76er's, after his team staved off elimination at the hands of the Miami Heat on Easter Sunday:


When you have faith you have hope. When you have hope you have life.


I don't think that Collins is a believer, but it would be hard to find a more appropriate quote describing what the Resurrection does for us.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Thankful for Bethel Church

This weekend we had a wonderful Easter celebration at Bethel. While the focus of our celebration was Jesus Christ and His Resurrection, I found an additional source of joy: the faithfulness of our people. 

This weekend would not have been possible if not for the hundreds of volunteers who served in various ministries, many coming both on Saturday and Sunday so they could worship and serve in the choir, on the hospitality team, in the children's ministry, or on our production team.

In addition, our people were on time, parked far away, sat up front (for the most part!) and most significantly, came at a service time that was perhaps not the most convenient so they could make room for visitors. In fact, one of the most encouraging moments of the weekend for me came during the early moments of the 9:30 am service when I took this picture from the north parking lot:


Now, it might be possible that this makes little sense to you. Normally empty parking spaces up close on Easter aren't good news. But let me explain. Empty parking spaces up close during the service that is normally the most attended means two things: 1) many of our people didn't come to the one service we asked them to consider not attending and 2) those that did parked far away. The point: our people did what their leaders encouraged them to do, making themselves a little uncomfortable so that guests could be comfortable. In it's own way, this is a simple picture of Gospel: the Son making himself uncomfortable so we might be comforted (see Philippians 2).

At the end of the day, this is a sign of real growth in our congregation. Would we like to have the parking lot full for every service? Of course; we want to preach the gospel to as many people as possible.  But we also want to see the Lord working in the people who are already a part of the Bethel family. And thats what we have here.

So, if your are part of the Bethel family, I leave you with these words from our 1 Corinthians 15 series:

Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.

Friday, April 22, 2011

It's Friday, but Sunday's Coming



(HT: Jeremy Carr)

Stories Like This Tell the Real Character of a Man

In 1966 I joined Operation Mobilization for a year of ministry in France, but spent two years in India instead. While in London that summer, at the one-month OM orientation, I volunteered to work on a clean-up crew late one night.

Around 12:30am I was sweeping the front steps of the Conference Centre when an older gentleman approached and asked if this was the OM conference. I told him it was, but almost everyone was in bed.

He had a small bag with him and was dressed very simply. He said he was attending the conference, so I said, ‘Let me see if I can find you a place to sleep’. Since there were many different age groups at OM, I thought he was an older OMer.

I took him to the room where I had been sleeping on the floor with about fifty others and, seeing that he had nothing to sleep on, laid some padding and a blanket on the floor and used a towel for a pillow. He said it would be fine and he appreciated it very much.

As he was preparing for bed, I asked him if he had eaten. He had not as he had been travelling all day. I took him to the dining room but it was locked. So after picking the lock I found cornflakes, milk, bread, butter and jam — all of which he appreciated very much.

As he ate and we began to fellowship, I asked where he was from. He said he and his wife had been working in Switzerland for several years in a ministry mainly to hippies and travellers. It was wonderful to talk with him and hear about his work and those who had come to Christ. When he finished eating, we turned in for the night.

However, the next day I was in trouble! The leaders of OM really ‘got on my case’. ‘Don’t you know who that man is on the floor next to you?’ they asked. ‘It is Dr Francis Schaeffer, the speaker for the conference!’

I did not know they were going to have a speaker, nor did I know who Francis Schaeffer was, nor did I know they had a special room prepared for him!

After Francis Schaeffer became well known because of his books, and I had read more about him, I thought about this occasion many times — this gracious, kind, humble man of God sleeping on the floor with OM recruits! This was the kind of man I wanted to be.

Of course, I will never attain the intellect, knowledge or wisdom of Francis Schaeffer. But I can reach out to younger people and minister to them in Christ’s name by living a life of humility. What about you?


The author is International Director of Action International Ministries (ACTION) Nichols.doug@gmail.com www.action intl.org

Thursday, April 21, 2011

A Great Question from David Platt

How can we in the church best unleash the people of God in the Spirit of God with the Word of God for the glory of God in the world? - Introduction to Radical Together

7 Ways to Lead People Older Than You

One of the challenges that I faced (and still do to some degree) in the early years of ministry leadership was having the wisdom to lead those who were older than me. It was (and is) often  a mixture of learning how to honor my elders while not allowing them to despise my youth (1 Timothy 4:2). In light of this, I found this article from Ron Edmondson helpful on some tips for leading people who are older than you.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

You Need to Read Psalm 103 Today

Bless the LORD, O my soul,
and all that is within me,
bless his holy name!
[2] Bless the LORD, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits,
[3] who forgives all your iniquity,
who heals all your diseases,
[4] who redeems your life from the pit,
who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
[5] who satisfies you with good
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.
[6] The LORD works righteousness
and justice for all who are oppressed.
[7] He made known his ways to Moses,
his acts to the people of Israel.
[8] The LORD is merciful and gracious,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
[9] He will not always chide,
nor will he keep his anger forever.
[10] He does not deal with us according to our sins,
nor repay us according to our iniquities.
[11] For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
[12] as far as the east is from the west,
so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
[13] As a father shows compassion to his children,
so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him.
[14] For he knows our frame;
he remembers that we are dust.
[15] As for man, his days are like grass;
he flourishes like a flower of the field;
[16] for the wind passes over it, and it is gone,
and its place knows it no more.
[17] But the steadfast love of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him,
and his righteousness to children's children,
[18] to those who keep his covenant
and remember to do his commandments.
[19] The LORD has established his throne in the heavens,
and his kingdom rules over all.
[20] Bless the LORD, O you his angels,
you mighty ones who do his word,
obeying the voice of his word!
[21] Bless the LORD, all his hosts,
his ministers, who do his will!
[22] Bless the LORD, all his works,
in all places of his dominion.
Bless the LORD, O my soul! (ESV)

Monday, April 18, 2011

5 Rules for Remembering Names

If you are like me, you have a hard time remembering names. Here's a video from Fast Company that might help.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Gospeltality

Sometimes my kids amaze me. This seems to particularly occur with my youngest, seven year-old Ty. Most of his time is spent messing around and trying (often successfully) to make us laugh. However, every once in a while he also shows an uncanny intelligence and even spiritual insight. This afternoon we had one of those moments.

As his mother related how Ty was friendly with a new child in his class at church this morning, and that this was a great example of hospitality, he simply replied that it was 'gospeltality.'

Now, I have to admit that I don't think he really knows what he is talking about, but even if he does just a little bit, I am amazed at his insight. Whether he realizes it or not, he's right: when we show hospitality to others, we are simply reflecting how God has been hospitable to us.

Hospitality is being friendly and generous to strangers. Through the cross, God has generously offered us his friendship (John 15:14; James 2:23). Even when we hated and reviled Him, he showed his love  by sending his Son to die for us (Romans 5:8).

Therefore, as those who have received the ultimate act of hospitality, we are called to show hospitality to others (Romans 12:13; 1 Peter 4:9). When we do, we practice 'gospeltality' - giving a little picture of God's hospitality towards us.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

God: Announcing in Love, Punishing the Guilty

In response the to current controversy surrounding Rob Bell's Love Wins, the Gospel Coalition held a special session this morning to address the issues surrounding universalism and hell. Desiring God has a great summary of the discussion here.

TGC11 Wrap Up

TGC11 wrapped up a few hours ago although I'm still at McCormick Place attending a post-conference on Christ and the City with Tim Keller.

TGC11 was great, and you can catch all of the messages here. I would especially recommend the messages by Tim Keller and Matt Chandler and a panel discussion Preaching Christ from the Old Testament.

TGC11 Day 2


Day 2 of TGC11 held the following for me:
  • Plenary session from Psalm 25 by James MacDonald
  • Panel discussion on training leaders with Don Carson, Mark Driscoll, Al Mohler, Ligon Duncan and David Helm
  • Panel discussion on what a local church should look like with Tim Keller, Crawford Loritts, and Mark Dever.
  • Workshop on the Mission of the local church with Kevin DeYoung and Greg Gilbert
  • Plenary session from Jeremiah 23:1-10 by Conrad Mbewe
  • Plenary session from Ecclesiastes 11-12 by Matt Chandler

Here are some of the best quotes from the day:

Seminaries should not be the place that we train pastors. They should be a place where we help churches train pastors. – Al Mohler

You can’t franchise out theological education. It belongs to the church and the Lord Jesus Christ. – Al Mohler

Christ loved the church and his followers must not do less. – D.A. Carson

Information in community with application leads to transformation. --  Mark Driscoll

If in our churches we care nothing for hurting people than we do not have the heart of our Lord Jesus. – Kevin DeYoung

"I''m amazed that Jesus never said I'm busy, but had an amazing sense of the goal of his mission." Kevin DeYoung

To not be clear about the most important things of our faith is not cool, it is cowardice. Take that as you will. – Kevin DeYoung

When our churches support mercy ministry there should always be the overarching aim to impart faith.  – Kevin DeYoung

Remembering rightly redeems our rejoicing. – Matt Chandler

Everybody loves Pauline theology but no one wants Pauline pain. – Matt Chandler


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

God's Heart for the Needy


Jesus' Heart for the Needy from Oxford Bible Fellowship on Vimeo.

TGC11


This week I have the joy of joining more than 5,000 like-minded brothers and sisters at the Gospel Coalition’s Bi-Annual Conference at McCormick Place in Chicago. The theme of the conference is Preaching Christ and the Gospel from the Old Testament.

The conference started yesterday with plenary messages from Albert Mohler (John 5:31-47), Tim Keller (Exodus 14), Alistair Begg (Ruth), as well as a panel consisting of Bryan Chappell, John Piper, D.A. Carson, Crawford Loritts, and Tim Keller.

Around the plenary sessions I also attended a panel on God-Given Growth and a round table Band of Bloggers dinner discussion.

Here are some of the best quotes from Day 1 of the conference. Note that in some instances the ‘quote’ might be my best attempt at a summary of what was said. Feel free to follow me on Twitter (@gchriscarr) for a live feed of quotes and updates.

The most serious students of Scripture can miss the point – Christ.  – Al Mohler

There is no more basic word in the Bible than redemption. – Tim Keller

Every time you sin you are destroying your ability to resist that sin. – Tim Keller

Pharaoh to the Israelites – ‘serve me or you will die’. This is the same thing our idols say to us. – Tim Keller

What makes you a Christian is a change in status. – Tim Keller

Jesus Christ was decreated so that we could be recreated. – Tim Keller

The OT Scriptures should mean more to us than to the original recipients. – Alistair Begg

There is no true gospel-centeredness unless it leads to mission. - Trevin Wax

Monday, April 11, 2011

How to Fail

Another good post from Seth Godin:

There are some significant misunderstandings about failure. A common one, similar to one we seem to have about death, is that if you don't plan for it, it won't happen.

All of us fail. Successful people fail often, and, worth noting, learn more from that failure than everyone else.

Two habits that don't help:

  • Getting good at avoiding blame and casting doubt
  • Not signing up for visible and important projects

While it may seem like these two choices increase your chances for survival or even promotion, in fact they merely insulate you from worthwhile failures.

I think it's worth noting that my definition of failure does not include being unlucky enough to be involved in a project where random external events kept you from succeeding. That's the cost of showing up, not the definition of failure.

Identifying these random events, of course, is part of the art of doing ever better. Many of the things we'd like to blame as being out of our control are in fact avoidable or can be planned around.

Here are six random ideas that will help you fail better, more often and with an inevitably positive upside:

  1. Whenever possible, take on specific projects.
  2. Make detailed promises about what success looks like and when it will occur.
  3. Engage others in your projects. If you fail, they should be involved and know that they will fail with you.
  4. Be really clear about what the true risks are. Ignore the vivid, unlikely and ultimately non-fatal risks that take so much of our focus away.
  5. Concentrate your energy and will on the elements of the project that you have influence on, ignore external events that you can't avoid or change.
  6. When you fail (and you will) be clear about it, call it by name and outline specifically what you learned so you won't make the same mistake twice. People who blame others for failure will never be good at failing, because they've never done it.

If that list frightened you, you might be getting to the nub of the matter. If that list feels like the sort of thing you'd like your freelancers, employees or even bosses to adopt, then perhaps it's resonating as a plan going forward for you.

A Review of Love Wins

I am admittedly a little late in the game with this, but a vacation and numerous speaking engagements over the past couple of weeks have prevented me from completing my review of Rob Bell's Love Wins

During this time the furor has died down somewhat and most (perhaps all) of what needs to be said has been said. In addition, there are much better reviews that you can read than this one.

Nevertheless, since I promised a review and a majority of my readers are those to whom I am a pastor, I am going to share some thoughts that I believe are important regarding the book and the issues that come from it.

Introduction

First, for those who are unaware, let me tell you a little bit about Rob Bell. I don't know him personally, but we do have a few things in common. We are almost the same age. We both grew up in conservative evangelical homes. We both professed faith in Christ at the age of six. We both attended conservative Christian colleges. And we both have been in ministry for 15+ years. Of course, we don't have everything in common. He has become famous, and I, well not so much.

Bell pastors Mars Hill Church in Grandville, MI, a church which he started in 1998 with a current attendance of over 10,000. He is the author of several books, has produced an excellent video series called NOOMA, and has spoken to sold-out crowds both nationally and internationally for years.

All of this to say that his influence is significant, especially among Millenials and disaffected and disillusioned evangelicals, of which there are many. Love Wins is currently #2 on the New York Times Bestseller List under the Advice Category.

To conclude my introduction, let me be clear: I have some hard things to say about Bell and Love Wins. Some have questioned whether it is 'Christian' to be harsh with a brother, especially with the world watching. But I believe that both Jesus (Mark 9:42) and Paul (1 Timothy 1:3-7, 20) were clear about how we are to view false teachers and their doctrine -- and make no mistake, this is false doctrine.

I know there are those who will object to the statement I just made, but as I hope to show below, a truly honest evaluation of the book has to admit that what Bell is proclaiming is not orthodox Christianity, and it never has been. In doing so he is leading sheep astray. And as Paul and Peter tell us, one of the shepherd's jobs is to protect the sheep (Acts 20:29; 1 Peter 5:1-4).

So, all that being said, let me briefly share four primary errors that I see in the book.

1. Hell

Bell tells us from the very beginning the purpose of the book:

A staggering number of people have been taught that a select few Christians will spend forever in a peaceful, joyous place called heaven, while the rest of humanity spends forever in torment and punishment in hell with no chance for anything better. It’s been clearly communicated to many that this belief is a central truth of the Christian faith and to reject it is, in essence to reject Jesus. This is misguided and toxic and ultimately subverts the contagious spread of Jesus’s message of love, peace, forgiveness, and joy that our world desperately needs to hear. And so this book. – Preface

The problem is, that while I wouldn't state it the way he does, this is what the Bible teaches. We might not like it and we might not want it to be that way, but in Matthew 7:13-14 (ESV) says exactly the opposite of what Bell writes:

Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. [14] For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.

Bell goes on to say:

At the center of the Christian tradition since the first church have been a number who insist that history is not tragic, hell is not forever, and love in the end wins and all will be reconciled to God. - p. 109

Many people find Jesus compelling, but don’t follow him, because of the parts about “hell and torment and all that.” Not all Christians have believed this, and you don’t have to believe it to be a Christian. The Christian faith is big enough, wide enough, and generous enough to handle that vast a range of perspectives. – p. 111-112

So let's be clear: Bell is teaching (yes, teaching) that hell isn't forever and that everyone is eventually saved. And the reality is that this is not Biblical, and it is not orthodox Christianity and it has not been at the center of the Christian tradition, ever.

2. Hermeneutics

This one really bothers me. Honestly, if you do what Bell does with Scripture you can teach and believe just about anything that you want. How he uses (and misuses) Scripture isn't very different than the Mormons and Jehovah Witnesses. And I honestly believe a 7th grader in our student ministry with a good study Bible could show that he is off base with his use (or lack of use) of numerous passages.

The danger is that Bell does use a lot of Scripture so unless you are a good Berean (which many Christians aren't) you can easily be fooled into thinking he is on to something.

I have debated about whether to bring out some specific examples here, but to keep the review relatively short, and as I will address some of the hermeneutical errors in other places, I will leave it be for now. If you do want more detail, Kevin DeYoung has done a wonderful job of pointing out 10 exegetical errors in his review.

3. The Character of God

Millions have been taught that if they don’t believe, if they don’t accept in the right way, that is, the way the person telling them the gospel does, and they were hit by a car and died later that same day, God would have no choice but to punish them forever in conscious torment in hell. God would, in essence, become a fundamentally different being to them in that moment of death, a different being to them forever. A loving heavenly father who will go to extraordinary lengths to have a relationship with them would in the blink of an eye, become a cruel, mean, vicious tormenter who would ensure that they had no escapre from an endless future of agony.

If there was an earthly father who was like that, we would call the authorities. If there was an actual human dad who was that volatile, we would contact child protection services immediately. If God can switch gears like that, switch entire modes of being that quickly, that raises a thousand questions about whether a being like this could ever be trusted, let alone be good. Loving one moment, vicious the next.

Kind and compassionate, only to become cruel and relentless in the blink of an eye.

Does God become somebody totally different the moment you die?

That kind of God is simply devastating. Psychologically crushing. We can’t bear it. No one can.

Because if something is wrong with your god, if you God is loving one second and cruel the next, if your god will punish people for all of eternity for sins committed in a few short years, no amount of clever marketing or compelling language or good music or great coffee will be able to disguise that one, true, glaring, untenable unacceptable, awful reality. - p. 173-175

First, note that Bell is in no way being fair to those who hold to the "traditional" view of God. He is painting this view in the worst possible light possible. No one who believes in the "traditional" view would state it this way.

Second, in this we can see that perhaps the fundamental error with Bell's theology is the way in which he views the character of God. It's clear that for Bell, God's love is His fundamental characteristic, the one characteristic that is elevated above all others. There are several problems with this.

Yes, God is love. The Scripture is clear about that. But among other things, God is light, spirit, and a consuming fire. Most importantly, God is holy. In fact, the characteristic of holiness is the only one that we see with repetition (holy, holy, holy).

So, we must keep God's characteristics in tension with one another (Ed Stetzer has some good thoughts here). This is particularly true with love and holiness. In fact, this is exactly what the Bible does:

In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 1 John 4:10 (ESV)

This passage shows us how God's love and His holiness work together. God is holy and therefore cannot tolerate sin (Hab. 1:13a). But because of His great love for us, He sent his Son to turn aside His wrath (propitiate) from us so that we might be restored to a relationship with Him (see 1 Peter 3:18).

You see, in not recognizing the significance of God's holiness, Bell also fails to see the greatness of God's love. He actually minimizes God's love by not keeping it in tension with His holiness.

4. The Cross

If I could ask Bell just one question, it would be this: what do you do with cross? I would ask this because its clear from statements like the following that for Bell the cross wasn't that big of a deal:

Many have heard the gospel framed in terms of rescue. God has to punish sinners, because God is holy, but Jesus paid the price for our sin, and so we can have eternal life. However true or untrue that is technically or theologically, what it can do is subtly teach people that Jesus rescues us from God.

Let’s be very clear, then: we do not need to be rescued from God. God is the one who rescues us from death, sin, and destruction. God is the rescuer. This is true for our peace, because, we shape our God, and then our God shapes us. - p. 182

A couple (at least) of problems here. First, Bell subtly tells us here that theology and technicalities aren't really all that important. Of course, Love Wins is true to form on this point.

Second, and most importantly, does the Bible teach us that God is the rescuer, not the one to be rescued from?

In actuality, the Bible teaches both. God is both just (the one that demands that sin be paid for) and the justifier (the one who makes sinners righteous) -- see Romans 3:26.

To press the point more, Scripture clearly teaches that God is a God of wrath:

For they themselves report concerning us the kind of reception we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come. 1 Thess. 1:9-10 (ESV)

So, there is wrath coming. Wrath that we have been saved from. But whose wrath is it? It's God's wrath.

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. Romans 1:18 (ESV)

Scripture clearly teaches in numerous places that we are saved from God, by God, for God. End of story.

Conclusion

Like I said at the beginning, there are better and more thorough reviews of Love Wins that you can read. I would highly recommend Kevin DeYoung's extensive review as well as some excellent thoughts from Randy Alcorn.

Here's my final word on the matter. In the last quote above Bell says that "we shape our God and then he shapes us." This is perhaps the most accurate statement in the book.

Bell has shaped his God not through the lens of Scripture but through the lens of his own intellect and desire. I believe he started with the thought that a loving God wouldn't send people to an eternal hell for "sins done in a few short years." From that he developed his theology (which is really just old theological liberalism in a new package) by interpreting Scripture through this lens. And what you get from that is the mess of Love Wins, as Martin Bashir revealed.

Bell has shaped his god, and now his god is shaping him. Unfortunately, it is shaping many others as well. Because the god that Bell has shaped is not the God of the Bible. Let's pray that the Lord reveals to Bell the error of his ways and simultaneously protects the sheep who are susceptible to his teaching. At the same time, let's all be good Bereans with everything we read and listen to.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Some Encouraging Pro-Life News

Gene Veith reports that 15 states are considering banning abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy. Nebraska and Kansas have already done so, and Iowa may be next. This is encouraging news, and let's pray that more states do the same.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

My Seven Year Old

My seven year old son is a constant source of laughs. Tonight he came out from taking a bath with 'horns' in his hair. He simply left the shampoo in his hair and shaped his hair like this:


He then asked if we could wash his hair like we did when he was a baby, so we ended up doing this:


The Elephant Room

Two Thursdays ago I had the opportunity to be part of the live audience for an event called The Elephant Room. The event was a gathering of seven influential pastors, hosted by James MacDonald at Harvest Bible Chapel's Aurora campus.

The seven pastors took turns debating various contemporary issues, from poverty ministry to how to engage the culture. I can honestly say that it was the best one-day conference I have attended, and encourage you to consider purchasing the sessions on DVD. You can pre-order them here for $49.95. In the meantime, here are a few clips from two of the sessions:


Highway to Hell - Part 1 from Harvest Bible Chapel on Vimeo.



Chandler and Furtick from Harvest Bible Chapel on Vimeo.

Why is the Muslim World So Resistant to the Gospel?

With 1.4 billion Muslims in the world and an ever-growing presence in NW Indiana, this is an important question that we must answer. Al Mohler gives his thoughts here.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Overseas Council

This evening Eva and I had the privilege of hosting an informational dessert in our home for one of our favorite missions organizations, Overseas Council. OC is a unique ministry with a singular focus: partnering with seminaries, Bible institutes and other strategic ministries by leveraging people, expertise and resources to advance quality Christian leadership training, thus empowering churches around the world to fulfill the Great Commission of the Lord Jesus Christ.

OC is a great organization that I first came in contact with in 2001. Shortly thereafter I took a trip with them to West Africa, a trip that opened my eyes to the incredible things God is doing around the world. The trip honestly changed my life and developed within me a passion for leadership development in the developing world. 

Through my partnership with OC I have had the opportunity to travel to the Middle East as well develop relationships with leaders from all around the world. I would highly recommend checking out their website and learning more about this incredible ministry.

My Future Chicago Bears

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Meet Dr. Martin Accad

This afternoon I had the privilege of sitting down for lunch with Dr. Martin Accad. Dr. Accad is a full-time professor at Arab Baptist Theological Seminary (ABTS) in Beirut, Lebanon as well as a part-time associate professor at Fuller Seminary in Southern California. He also dedicates a great deal of time to leading the Institute of Middle East Studies (IMES).

I first met Martin on a trip to the Middle East in 2005. Shortly thereafter Bethel began an official partnership with ABTS, which continues to this day, and we hope will grow in the days ahead.

Martin's area of expertise is Muslim-Christian relationships, and he has a significant role in building bridges between the two, particularly in his home country of Lebanon. You can check out some of Martin's work on this subject at Christian Today.

Please be in prayer for Martin and ABTS as they have a vital role in training Arabic-speaking leaders to minister in the Middle East and around the world. At the same time, pray for Bethel as we seek to minister to the growing Arabic and Muslim population in NW Indiana.

A New Blogger

There's a new blog you should check out -- courtesy of my baby sister. Check it out here.

Weird: Because Normal Isn't Working

Craig Groeschel of Lifechurch.tv just released his latest book entitled Weird: Because Normal Isn't Working.  Here's a good excerpt on what he means by being weird in regards to time management:

We’re always rushed, always on the move, never having enough time. Almost everyone I know has little room for error in their schedule. Tragically, most people have little time for the things in life that they would say are the most important to them. When we overschedule ourselves in the belief that we can do everything, we stop being human and try to become godlike — not only impossible but also incredibly arrogant. Most of us are living at a pace that is not only unsustainable; it’s also unbiblical.

Instead of our typical conclusion that we simply don’t have enough time, what if we embraced the truth — no matter how weird or counterintuitive it might seem?

You have enough time to do everything God wants you to do.

God has given you everything you need to accomplish all that he wants you to do, including enough time (see 2 Peter 1:3). We don’t need more time. We need to use the time we already have differently. You have time for what you choose to invest your time in. Every day most of us say, “I just don’t have time to work out . . . to read the Bible . . . to go to church this week . . . to meet for lunch . . . to add one more thing.” But the truth is, we find time for what’s important to us. If golf is really a priority to us, we find time to play golf. If going to dinner with our friends matters, we make it happen. If tanning, working out, or getting our hair cut is a priority, we seem to find time. Catch yourself the next time you’re about to say, “I don’t have time” for something. Tell yourself the truth: either it’s not a priority and you’re guarding your time for good reason, or you simply aren’t willing to choose to spend your time on it.

Search

Pages

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.