Thursday, March 24, 2005

Retelling of John 4

Check out this modern day retelling of John 4.

Challenging, thought-provoking, beautiful, motivating, confrontational, unsettling, comforting, telling, pick your adjective....I think this retelling captures a picture of Jesus that more people need to see.

Who's afraid of intelligent design?

This article, Who's afraid of intelligent design?, in the Washington post, delivers one of the best and most balanced arguments have I heard for the teaching of the origins and development of life.
I wrote something similar awhile back called More ramblings on Evolution and Stuff.
I believe this may be one of those things we don't discover the complete truth about this side of heaven. That's why it is all the more important for us to have healthy discussions around topics like this.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Leadership-downs and ups

Last year, at this time, I had 11 adult volunteer leaders helping me run our student ministries. It is now down to 4. 5 of them have moved and two (both moms of young kids) stepped down because it became too much for them.
We are still running our programs. More importantly, we are still reaching kids with the love of Christ. God has blessed this ministry with people who are not afraid to invest in kids lives. With fewer leaders, I can spend more time with each of them, discipling and coaching.
This year, I also have two student leaders, a senior guy and a junior girl, who are helping out with our Middle School stuff. Both of them have really stepped up and our impacting kids lives. The other part that is really cool is that our current middle schoolers are asking how they can become student leaders when they are in high school.
God is good. I am incredibly grateful for the leaders that are in place now. I am grateful for God's peace which I truly feel about our current leadership situation.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Free Ipods

Check out this site. Free Ipods. You have to jump through some hoops but it looks legit.

Oh the places you'll go

I found this cool little thing on Stu's Rants.

the states you've been to, underline the states you've lived in and italicize the state you're in now...

Alabama / Alaska / Arizona / Arkansas / California / Colorado / Connecticut / Delaware / Florida / Georgia / Hawaii / Idaho / Illinois / Indiana / Iowa / Kansas / Kentucky / Louisiana / Maine / Maryland / Massachusetts / Michigan / Minnesota / Mississippi / Missouri / Montana / Nebraska / Nevada / New Hampshire / New Jersey / New Mexico / New York / North Carolina / North Dakota / Ohio / Oklahoma / Oregon / Pennsylvania / Rhode Island / South Carolina / South Dakota / Tennessee / Texas / Utah / Vermont / Virginia / Washington / West Virginia / Wisconsin / Wyoming / Washington D.C /

Go HERE to have a form generate the HTML for you.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Willow Creek Next Gen Conference

I spent 4 days last week at Willow Creek with three of my adult leaders and 6 student leaders. Their new auditorium was unbelievable. 7000 seats??? A coupe of things stick out to me about the trip.
There were only a handful of occasions when I felt like I was leading kids. The students with us truly acted like leaders and lived up to expectations that I placed upon them.
The personal theme for the conference for me was my own personal brokenness as revealed to me in the light of Christ's overwhelming grace and mercy. I'm not in the middle of some major backslide or struggling with a nagging sin but to feel forgivness and grace and mercy wash over me like a river was such a gift. I have been following Christ for 17 years now and it's great to know that God's mercies truly are new everyday.
Maybe the highlight of the trip came after we got home. Bethany, of our student leaders slipped a note in backpack at our Saturday night Service. I didn't find it until the next day. It was a thank you note for inviting her to the conference. She told how she felt like she really connected with God for the first time. She felt a calling on her life; calling to serve others and to serve the Lord. She concluded her letter by telling me she wanted to lead others like I have led her. What a gift to be able to see someone like Beth come into her own, to experience the Lord of the universe and to hear his calling on her life.

Albert Mohler on McLaren's Generous Orthodoxy

I had nearly finished reading Brian McLaren's A Generous Orthodoxy when I stumbled upon this review via Movable Theoblogical by Dr. Albert Mohler. Dr Mohler is the president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Dr Mohler writes:

he embraces relativism at the cost of clarity in matters of truth and intends to redefine Christianity for this new age, largely in terms of an eccentric mixture of elements he would take from virtually every theological position and variant.

My take would be a little different. In a Generous orthodoxy I found McLaren affirming and encouraging those aspects of varying denominations which he believes to most closely resemble the early church. At the same time, identifying those aspects of the same varying denominations, that when compared to the church that Christ laid the foundation of, are found lacking. More simply put here is what the Methodist have done well and not done well, here is what the Catholics have done well and not done well, here is what the anabaptists have done well and not done so well, etc.

This is a man who doesn't want to offend anyone on any side of any argument. That's why it's hard to find the orthodoxy in A Generous Orthodoxy.
I think I understand Dr. Mohler's perspective, i.e., the gospel has the potential to be offensive. I do not however agree (and this is an assumption I am making about Mohler's stance) that a potential to be offensive gives us as followers of Christ a license or worse a mandate to offend in the name of Lord.

McLaren effectively ransacks the Christian tradition, picking and choosing among theological options without any particular concern for consistency. He rejects the traditional understanding of doctrine as statements of biblical truth and instead presents a variant of postmodernism
What is the value is consistency for consistency's sake?

A responsible theological argument must acknowledge that difficult questions demand to be answered. We are not faced with an endless array of doctrinal variants from which we can pick and choose. Homosexuality either will or will not be embraced as normative. The church either will or will not accept a radical revisioning of the missionary task.

At the risk of sounding sarcastic and disrespectful, it must be nice to live in a world that is completely black and white. Difficult questions demand to be answered? Who exactly determines who is qualified to answer those questions?

We will either see those who have not come to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as persons to whom we should extend a clear gospel message and a call for decision, or we will simply come alongside them to tell our story as they tell their own.
So according to Dr Mohler evangelism consists of reciting the four spiritual laws. The movement of God in our lives has no place in sharing Christ's love, that would be telling our story. Expressing an interest in someone else's life by asking questions about what they believe or about their past experiences has no place in reaching the lost for Christ either because that would mean we would have to listen to their story.

Honest Christians know that disagreements over issues of biblical truth are inevitable. But we owe each other at least the honesty of taking a position, arguing for that position from Scripture, and facing the consequences of our theological convictions.

At the risk of sounding sarcastic yet again it must be nice to have all the answers. According to Dr Mohler there is no room to say "I don't know." A position I believe to both disingenuous and dangerous. I truly believe that scripture has the answers to many questions. I also believe there are some questions that don't have answers.

I am sure Dr Mohler has and will continue influence people for the Lord. He must have worked incredibly hard to attain a position such as the one he holds. He is due a great deal of respect. My hope and prayer is that he has not become so enamored with his posotion and the respect he is owed to be willing to look and listen to those with opinions contrary to his own.

Authoritative Communities

This post on Christdot has got my brain turning. I'm not sure what to do with it yet. But this concept of authoritative communities; multi-generational, intentional gatherings cannot be ignored. I have been a youth pastor, either paid or volunteer for the better of 12 years now and ministry has always been about identifying groups, youth, 20-somethings, young marrieds, seniors, and ministering to and in those groups. The logic to support this is obvious. Or so it seemed. Now, it feels like we have been wrong all this time and possibly robbing our communities of life changing relationships simply because of a demographic.

Much more work and thought to be done...