Rob Bell is really annoying!

THe good people at symphonyofscripture.com (link above) have posted this cool video.I'm glad for the guy who preached this message. Australians are cool! Mr. Bell in his latest Nooma video puts man where God needs to be. I'm glad this pastor isn't afraid of standing up for the truth. By the way, I like the way his stage is dressed. See, you can be stylish and steadfast for truth!


Movie Preview: Be Kind Rewind

New Jack Black film with Mos Def. It looks very interesting. It's from the director of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. I look forward to seeing this one!


Why don't these people just take us out of their misery??

The Daily Mail (link above) out of London reports on a woman who about ten years ago had an abortion because it was selfish and environmentally unfriendly. So much so that she sterilized herself so she would never have a kid. Funny, they deny life to the unborn, but not themselves. Much like Paul talking to the Galatians and telling some to just completely castrate themselves if they want to keep circumcision, why don't these people just end their lives and the lives of every other unwanted person so they don't leave their carbon foot print. Why don't they put us out of their misery and take themselves out of the equation????? I'll be glad to help!


Best Political Ad ever: Chuck Norris!!!!!

The Huckabee campaign has struck political gold by having renewed pop culture icon Chuck Norris endorse him. As you might be able to note, I do too. Here's their campaign commercial. Best Political Ad ever!

A tale of two books

I'd like to start off with a quote from emergent pastor Dan Kimball I found on Timmy Bristers page(link on title) He muses on whether the emerging church has over emphasized one aspect of the christian life to the exclusion of the other.

"At the same time, I wonder if because we are reacting to perhaps the over-focus on the gospel being about the after-life only, that we have gone too far in response. Do we now focus so much on the gospel and Kingdom-living in this life and what that means (which is incredibly important) but we now neglect talking about the gospel’s impact on the after-life? Perhaps it is fresh on my mind and heart, since my dad just died and my thinking has been about the after-life. But something I have a personal concern for is balance. As we adjust to making sure we teach and live out the good (great) news of the gospel and Kingdom living here and now in this life - that we still talk and teach about the reality of the after-life. That we still talk about heaven and we also still talk about the reality of hell. I honestly don’t hear too much talk about hell in most (but not all) emerging and emergent church circles. I know it isn’t pleasant to talk about. I know there is much mystery with it. I know God is the only one who knows people’s eternal destinations. I know we have used “hell” in manipulative and incorrect ways. And again, I understand fully the reality of how we neglected understanding the Kingdom of God on this earth and what that means and perhaps focused too much on the after-life only when we talked about the gospel. But at the same time, how can we forget about the reality of the after-life and not talk or think about hell and heaven?"

Having said that I wanted to share with you two books that I think speak to the situation we are in. One begins with a man who got burned out in ministry. He got tired of american christianity and felt it was because times had changed, and thus it was time to do something new with his faith. Rethink it to deal with the modern trends. Another, book, begins with a man who saw changes in his church. Bad things happening that did not comport to scripture. He chose to challenge the new ideas, to fight the establishment because he saw it was wrong and unscriptural. The first book, is "A New Kind of Christian" by Brian Mclaren. The second book is a book on reformation theology by Michael Horton "Putting Amazing Back Into Grace". As I read Mclarens book, it seemed that he only let his feelings guide him. He does mention in the intro that he talked to many people and probably read the bible, but for him the primacy was the culture causing him to rethink his faith. In the second book, Horton starts with Luther as a man who challenges the church and culture with scripture, not just experience! The minute we let culture tell the gospel what it should say, we've already become irrelevant. The reason I began with the Kimball quote, is because he echoes what I have seen as the biggest flaw in the thinking of the church: Either/Or thinking.

Last night in my polity class, we discussed some of Mclaren's ideas. My professor did a great job pointing out that in the entire book, repentance is never mentioned. I wonder if that is part of the secret message of Jesus? No repentance! As I perused through Mclarens' new book "Everything Must Change" I came across a chart that makes an interesting illustration. He had under one heading how church used to think (or how he wants it to stop thinking it would seem)and how it thinks now (or how he would want it to think now) So, under salvation, the note says that it's about getting saved and going to heaven and escaping hell. For the new way it should be, it is an invitation to follow Jesus and be a part of his plan for redeeming the world. I ask, just like the new Wendy's commercial does, why can I only choose one? Why can't it be both? As Kimball points out, they can be so focused on the Kingdom now (to be fair aren't we sometimes only focused on the not yet?) that exclude the other? More so, doesn;t Jesus call us to both? I recommend you go to fide-o.blogspot.com They have an interesting article on the good Samaritan and what we as evangelicals can do to live both aspects of the kingdom. I will do my best to review both Horton's and Mclarens books. But more so, where have you been guilty of only emphasizing one aspect of the Christian life? Kimball's words should be sobering. I might add, I don't agree with him on everything, but I know Mark Driscoll still likes him and he at least believes in hell. Time will tell where he goes on the emerging/emergent dichotomy.


Not sure what to think about the writers strike?

Well, here are the key players in their own words. As an aspiring writer myself, you might be able to see where my vote goes.


Prayer request

Ok so here's where I get to be personal with you. I have a lot of things to do if I want to graduate in a few weeks and a lot of personal (friends/family) and logistical (work) stuff making it tough. Please pray for me to get throught the semester well, and that somewhere in there I can get some work. The comapny I've been working with has had it slow lately. So I need to look for something else. Anywho, thanks again guys,

Movie Review: Cross-Contamination!!!

Finally!! I get to review a movie for you guys. Interestingly, the movie is already out on DVD and you never heard of it, but it was a good watch, and I laughed a lot. The movie is called "Cross Contamination". I've included the trailer from youtube, and yep, it was that crazy and more. What is it about? Think your crazy youth group, meets a lot of post-modern "ministry" meets "This is Spinal Tap" and you get this movie. It's about an uber-spiriitual youth group as it begins it's new band and the ups and downs they experience. There's the cool band leader, the excited sound guy, the rockabilly haired lead singer, the confused british missionary and Jehovah Giant (he's from the ghetto in Beaverton Oregon-two blocks long!) Along the way we get to see how not to do church, as well as the apathy that can result when you are so focused on the wrong things. Seeing that this was recorded at my school and with school equipment, it was actually very palatable, even if the first act took place in the same location. The movie will definitely piss off traditional churches, relevant churches, emerging churches etc... Then again, I strive for that every day. However, we should learn to be critical of ourselves (yep that includes you!) and have a sense of humor as well. Have fun!

You can order a copy or borrow the one I'm going to buy. A few of my classmates are in the film. By the way, the scene about Jesus looking through Odin's beard is priceless!


I'm finally referenced by another Blog!!!!

Yes! My pal Steve Macasill, blogger at Biblicalthought.com, has made a reference to me for little bit of info I alerted him to. Yet again, he uses his brains to deal with the menace of televangelism gone astray! Visit the page people!

My New Feed

For those of you who have anxiously been waiting to get my posts (you exists I think) here is how you can find me. http://feeds.feedburner.com/blogspot/hGPf I finally got that taken care of. If it's still a prob, let me know.

So what's the difference???

Truth or Consequences (link above) muses on the state of Christian books. After reading that I came across this month's issue of Relevant magazine. So what's the difference? Same mentality, different audience I guess.

Traditional Church

Relevant Church


God hates sin but loves the sinner??????

I wonder what Rob Bell would have to say about that? Watch the NOOMA clip first, then watch the Driscoll clip (it's a bit longer but worth it!) Your thoughts ladies and gentlemen!

Wayne Grudem on Bible Study

While I talk about bible study, here's some advice from Wayne Grudem. The article is from Justin Taylor at Between Two Worlds (link above)

In a new book (Preach the Word: Essays on Expository Preaching: In Honor of R. Kent Hughes), Wayne Grudem has a helpful chapter offering some suggestions for pastors and Bible teachers on right and wrong interpretation of the Bible. One of Grudem’s observations is that seminarians can often begin to despair due to the amount of information available and the number of viewpoints on any one passage. Therefore Grudem’s chapter represents some of the principles he has sought to impart to students throughout the years.
I thought it might be helpful to list Grudem’s principles. Of course you’ll have to read the chapter itself to see how he flesh them out.

General Principles for Right Interpretation:

Spend your earliest and best time reading the text of the Bible itself.

The interpretation of Scripture is not a magical or mysterious process, because Scripture was written in the ordinary language of the day.

Every interpreter has only four sources of information about the text [(1) The meanings of individual words and sentences; (2) The place of the statement in its context; (3) The overall teaching of Scripture; (4) Some information about the historical and cultural background.

Look for reasons rather than mere opinions to give support to an interpretation, and use reasons rather than mere opinions to attempt to persuade others.

There is only one meaning for each text (though there are many applications.

Notice the kind of literature in which the verse is found.

Notice whether the text approves or disapproves or merely reports a person’s actions.

Be careful not to generalize specific statements and apply them to fundamentally different situations.

It is possible to do a short or long study of any passage. Do what you can with the time you have, and don’t be discouraged about all that you cannot do.
Pray regularly for the Holy Spirit’s help in the whole process of interpreting the Bible.

Keeping the “Big Picture” in Mind: Some Observations about the Whole of Scripture

Big Picture 1

The Bible is a historical document. Therefore, always ask, “What did the author want the original readers to understand by this statement?”

Big Picture 2

The original authors wanted the original readers to respond in some ways. Therefore, always ask, “What application did the original author want the readers to make to their lives?”

Big Picture 3

The whole Bible is about God! Therefore, we should always ask, “What does this text tell us about God?”

Big Picture 4

The center of the whole Bible is Jesus Christ. The entire Old Testament leads up to him and points to him, and the entire New Testament flows from him. Therefore, we should always ask, “What does this text tell us about the greatness of Christ?”

Big Picture 5

All history can be divided into several major “ages” or “epochs” in salvation history. Therefore, we should read every passage of the Bible with a salvation history timeline in our minds and constantly remember where every passage fits on the timeline.

Big Picture 6

Themes: Because the Bible is a unity (it has one divine Author though many human authors), there are many themes that develop and grow from Genesis to Revelation. Therefore, for each significant element in any text, it is helpful to ask, (a) Where did this theme start in the Bible? (b) How did this theme develop through the Bible? and (c) Where is this theme going to end in the Bible?

The Resurgence Greek Project

The good people at Mars Hill Church's technology department have done us all a huge favor. They have set up a a new website called regreek, where you can study words of the new testament and get them parsed, translated and basically get a huge help in your bible study. The cheaters way, cry many of you Greek scholars? But for those of us on the run, a huge help. The link about is to the tutorial page so you can learn how to use the page. Enjoy ladies and gentlemen. Hope that helps you in your studies.

Jesus died for your....sex life??

Thanks to the good people at alittleleaven.com (link above)

Yet again, another trendy church has decided to use the extreme and sensational to reach out to the "felt" needs of the community. This is what happens when we stop preaching the word. I'm all for preaching and teaching on a very important subject, but must we use sex as a means to draw a crowd? Sex sells on tv, but does it need to be used to sell Jesus? What's next, Kama Sutra Sunday?


Book Review: Lyrics by Sting

I'm a Police fan. I first learned to sing along and modulate my voice with Sting. I got to see them at the Staples Center this year with my sister and it was amazing. As an aspiring song writer, I love to read about different people's process for writing songs and lyrics. Sting goes through all the albums he's ever done and explains the origin of all his lyrics. Yelling at the sky as he rode home, or hearing a crow give him a lyric for "If I ever lose my faith". At times it feels like a book of poems (he was an english teacher) but you can see a strange beauty in these lyrics. He adds notes on some of the more interesing songs. For instance, what is the real story behind "Don't stand so close to me?" A song about a girl falling in love with her teacher (keep in mind he taught for a while) He made a note that it had no connection to real life. It's always about the song for Sting. Its feel, its mood and the message he wants to convey. For instance, "Every little thing she does is magic" was put in one of his more somber albums. "Fields of Gold" was written while he lived in a castle near barley fields. Very inspirational stuff. If you're a sting fan, you'll love it, if not, just read it to get into the mental process of a great song writer.


Leadership is an art by Max De Pree

Let me say that I believe that as books go, we must strive as best as we can to read the best. Having said that, brevity is king! Max DePree said in about one hundred pages, what Stephen Covey said in about three hundred! I did however wanted to give you some insings from both "Leadership is an Art" and from "The 8th Habit". I've recently been taking a class in leadership at my school and both were required reading. I was rather surprised at what I learned. Those of us who fancy ourselves leaders, or are leaders, should learn from believers (DePree) and by God's common grace learn from unbelievers (Covey who is a mormon) I debated whether to include the second book, because I didn't want to push the limits of common grace, but I also realize that I have a mature audience who will indulge me. Thanks in advance!
Who is Max DePree? His website states

"He is perhaps best known for his work as the CEO of Herman Miller, Inc. Herman Miller was founded by his father D. J. De Pree, who ran the company until the early 1960’s, when Max and his brother Hugh assumed responsibility for its leadership. During his tenure, Herman Miller became one of the most profitable Fortune 500 companies."

He was a student at Whedon College, served in Would War II, and still speaks on leadership from a Christian perspective. What stood out about his view of leadership was that it was other centered. He describes leadership as,"liberating people to do what is required of them in the most effective and humane way possible". How that happens is the thrust of his book.
He tells the story about his dad. He owned the company first and had to go tot he funeral of his millwright. At the home, the wife of his millwright asked to read aloud some very beautiful poetry. He asked who wrote the poetry, as it turned out it was his millwright. He writes,

"[I]t is fundamental that leaders endorse a concept of persons. This begins with an understanding of the diversity of people's gifts and talents and skills....When we think about leaders and variety of gifts people bring to corporations and institutions, we see that the art of leadership lies in polishing and liberating and enabling those gifts".

I couldn't have said it better. Covey in his book has the eight habit as "find your voice and help people find theirs". We best serve the people we lead when we know who we are and know what we have to do, and help others do the same. The real point is that we must treat people as people. THEY ARE NOT THINGS! They have talents, gifts and abilities that can be harnessed to contribute to the growth of your organization, company etc.. Mr. DePree listens to his people. His company was the first to introduce the scanlon plan. In it, people contribute ideas to help the company. If it works out, the person benefits financially from their idea. He states that the results of your leadership are seen in the people.

The current writers strike is a perfect example. They are basically striking for a few pennies more in royalties from DVD sales and some compensation from internet sales and presentations. Every time I watch Grey's Anatomy on the web, there is a commercial every fifteen minutes. Since this isn't on TV, they don't' get a cut from the commercial (where TV shows get their money) Not that one side is better than the other per se, but the writers are being treated like things, not people. They give the shows ideas, it gets put on a new media like the web, and get little compensation for it. Things must change.

This doesn't mean that we don't confront, indeed we must, but if we do, we must do it in the hopes of encouraging people to do what they re capable of doing. But there are certain things that are obligated of leaders that I wanted to highlight.

He prefaces these obligations by asking us to think of leadership to mean as one who serves (found in the book of Luke) We serve our subordinates(Jesus served Peter), those above us (Peter served Christ)and the organization we are a part of(Paul labored for the church).

1. We must leave behind us assets and a legacy

Leave behind the tools, programs etc.. that are needed to do the best job.
We owe future leadership, by training people
A covenant by promising our best (more on this later)
Rationality-don't be crazy all the time
Space (freedom) for people to do their best
A very helpful question to ask is this: What is it without which this institution would not be what it is? (John Frame says for the church this would be worship, evangelism and preaching-don't quote me though!)

2.Leaders must provide and maintain momentum
We have to make sure people are working effectively towards our goal. This happens as we have a vision of what we as a group are to be.

3. Leaders are responsible for effectiveness
We do that by enabling others to reach their potential, and by encouraging roving leadership, that is giving people permission to do their best (no micromanaging here). On a personal note, two people have given me space recently to do my best.Prof. Larkin, my leadership professor, gave all of us in class extra time to turn in work. He chewed me out first, but he did it with kindness (eventually!) and he encouraged me by giving me extra time. This blog is the result of someone helping me find my voice as well. Darrin, the leader of the college group who may (or may not!) be reading this blog, saw that I couldn't go the the meetings. But he didn't cut me off. He gave me a place to put up my work and still be a part of the group. Space, it is great. I might also add that the meetings may soon be put on podcast so I can listen to them. I take full responsibility!
4. Leaders are responsible for values
This is the hardest part because poeople value different things! We must strive to set an example and guide the values of the group we are a part of.

Before I finish (I've only dealt with the first part of the book) I must highlight something Mr. DePree points out. He writes that we must be in covenant with our people. A covenant is usually an agreement between two parties (sometimes between a stronger and a weaker party) and both are obligated to respond to each other-simply put. Likewise, when we lead people, we can easily think in terms of people being obliged to us. But we must got the extra mile. We must be committed to the people we lead. As covenantal leaders, we not only expect something from people, but we are committed to them as well.

As I talked to Steve Macasill, one of the bloggers at biblicalthought.com, He mentioned that as he leads people at his job, he keeps in mind Ephesians 6:7-9

Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men, because you know that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does, whether he is slave or free. And masters, treat your slaves in the same way. Do not threaten them, since you know that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no favoritism with him.

God is watching as we lead people. We do not threaten them, but see them as equal, having gifts and talents that can contribute to our organization. All this as done to the Glory of God, that is the kind of leadership that makes a mark. Part two will come out in a few days. Frank!


The State of the Church

A video I found online. Pretty much staes where a lot of the american church is at.And then we wonder why people go on to emergent churches, Roman Catholic churches, or Easter Orthodox Churches. I worry that this is what people are seeing in their churches and indeed it reflects a current attitude on our culture. We want things to be easy. We want it now. We don't want to spend time in the word, preparing to get a message from God. We need to change the trend. We must seek to be educated (hello books!) but we must strive to be close to God enough to be able to minister from what he's teaching us and doing in us. Any idiot can copy and paste a message and download some songs, it takes greated energy to actually spend time listening to what the Spirit says. On another note here is a message from Paul Washer that I think will speak for itself.


The falleness of man....

Some people have too much time on their hands. A new kind of drug is circulating many schools. What won't people do to get high? On the subject of drugs, we may not be getting high, but what do we give plenty of time to in order to avoid the pain in our lives? What is it that we're using to self-medicate? Something to think about if you go to this link.You go at your own risk.......


Let the reading begin!

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Hello my fellow book and culture lovers. Another blog you say? Why another voice among the voices of the more experienced masses? Because I love books and I sometimes like culture. Not only that, but where some might choose their blog to only attack and criticize the culture, I hope to be fair and have an open dialogue with my readers. Yes I believe people will read! (you're reading this aren't you??) More so, I want to show that Christians can intelligently engage the culture. As Mark Driscoll has written, we must seek to engage culture by Receiving what is there by God's common grace, Reject what is sinful, and Redeem the rest. Hopefully my book, movie and music reviews will be of help to you in your understanding of culture. Maybe I can get you to read a little more as well.

So where shall I begin? I'm currently reading through many books for school, fun and just general entertainment. I did want to begin by sharing some ideas on how to judge a book before your read. Since many of you may be Christian, I will jump ahead and focus on how to get a feel for religious book.
1. Amazon!
If you are like me, you spend time on Amazon.com just browsing to see what's around, what's coming up, and what people generally think of books you either just bought, or are about to buy or read. Read the reviews. Does it have one, two, five stars? Do the reviews seem fair? Are there an recurring problems mentioned? Many theology books are notorious for having bad binding. Are you better off buying it used? I might add Tim Keller has a great book coming out called The Reason for God: Faith in an age of Skepticism. It looks good. John Piper has a book dealing on the New Perspective on Paul that has a lot of buzz too.
2. Personal endorsements
Who blurbs the back of the book? Blurbs are the endorsements given to an author by other recognized authors, personalities etc.. this one can say a lot or a little. I once thumbed through a book that was endorsed by Donald Miller. He is the author of "Blue Like Jazz" which many of you know is an emergent manifesto. I may read it at some point to see what the hoopla is about, but suffice it to say he makes many bold statemetns about the church that border on the dangerous. I almost put the book away, but it turned out to be a great book on how to do church discipline today. If I could remember the title of said book i'd recommend it! Of course, seeing well known, respected leaders recommend a book helps. But you must go deeper still. Does anyone who's opinion you trust like the book you are about to read?
3.Tabel of Contents
Yes, at some point you have to pop open the book and read what the author intends to communicate (you knew you were going to at some point) Is there a structure? What are the headings? Is there an apppendix? If it has a sripture index, does it have a lot of scripture mentioned? How long is the book? Who gets mentioned a lot in their bibliography or endnotes? I'm reading a book that has a lot of end notes referencing Carl Jung-it's still a somewhat decent book, but now I read it with caution.
4. Publisher
Who published it? I'm not too happy with Zondervan now that they are cashing in on the Emergent movement with an Emergent line of books. This doesn't mean that all Zondervan books are bad. And yes, to be fair some Emergent books are decent (sometimes). If anything Intervarsity Press is guilty of publishing many questionable books (the openess of God anyone?) Where as a company like Crossway is known to publish Reformed authors. Ditto for Christian Scholars Press and P&R Publishing.
5. Time
What year was this published? If this is older than a decade, their info maybe outdated. But, there are those few books that stand the test of time, so don't hold onto that too hard and fast.
6. Author Info
Who is this person that you are about to let into your thoughts? Thanks to today's world, you can find a ministry website for almost all christian authors. Just be careful that their book isn't just an endorsement for even more (and more expensive!) material from them. What school did they go to? What is their testimony? What school do they teach at? Have they made controversial statemtents in previous books? Is their church a good place? Do they have a blog? Are there incriminating pics of them with Lindsey Lohan?
7. Your own interest
Why do you want to read this? What is it that you need to know? Some books need only a quick glance and a read through a chapter or two to get whatyou need. Others demand a lot of time, and are worht every hour of reading. Pray, reflect, but for goodness sake tell people. We need to have more open discussions about books.

Later on I will write about how to read a book. Suffice it to say, my uncle once told me that you don't let books affect you. The only one that should affect you is the Bible. You must take a wait and see approach to books. That can be very hard if the book is really good. More on this later. Oh yes I expect you to tell what you think ofmy somewhat sage advice. Go ahead, I dare you.