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New Sermon

A new sermon has been uploaded to my "Sermons, etc." page. This was the sermon I gave at the Hendersonville Church of Christ in Hendersonville, NC, last weekend as I interviewed for the youth ministry position.

I hope you get a chance to check it out. It's one of my favorite sermons I've ever written and delivered.

Summer Reads

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This is the list of books I have read this summer so far in order from the bottom up. Jesus Manifesto was definitely my favorite. Fearless and The Christian Atheist were somewhat similar in scope and content, but both worth the read. Jesus Wants to Save Christians does a good job of capturing the Exodus themes throughout the Bible. And The Happiest Baby on the Block was an interesting read in preparation for our child on the way.

The only question is what to read next? I'm kinda thinking I need to read more Bible before reading more books about the Bible.

Reflections on "Jesus Manifesto," pt. 3

CHAPTER 2


"You have been invited to share life with your Maker and Creator.

"And to top it all off, you have been made utterly, totally, fully complete in Him--here and now.

"Why, then, would you chase anything else? How can you be consumed with anything other than your Lord, Jesus Christ? And how can you graduate beyond Him?

"He is enough, even more than enough.

"Jesus Christ is like a vast ocean. He is too immense to fully explore, and too rich to fathom. You are like a bottle.

"The wonder of the gospel is that the bottle is in the ocean, and the ocean is in the bottle."

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Imagine, the power and magnitude of the entire ocean contained inside a little glass bottle adrift in that very ocean. This chapter of Jesus Manifesto explores the letter to the Colossians. Paul explains to the church that the great mystery of the gospel is that we are in Christ and Christ is in us! His life is our life. It is too small a thing to offer a part of ourselv…

Reflections on "Jesus Manifesto," pt. 2

Chapter 1: The Occupation of All Things


Read over this passage slowly.

15He is the image of the invisible God,
    the firstborn over ALL creation; 16 because by Him EVERYTHING was created,     in heaven and on earth, the visible and the invisible,     whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities— ALL THINGS have been created through Him and for Him. 17 He is before ALL THINGS, and by Him ALL THINGS hold together. 18 He is also the head of the body, the church;     He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead,     so that He might come to have first place in EVERYTHING. 19 For God was pleased [to have] ALL His fullness dwell in Him, 20 and through Him to reconcile EVERYTHING to Himself     by making peace through the blood of His cross —     whether things on earth or things in heaven. Colossians 1:15-20, HCSB (emphasis added)
Notice a theme? These are some BOLD claims Paul is making. Everything we see, taste, touch, hear, and smell, AND everything we can't see, taste, touch, hear, a…

Resurrection

I watched this the other day. I had heard most of it from the sermon podcasts I listen to from the Mars Hill Church, where Rob Bell is the pastor. This is pretty much a condensed version of his sermon on resurrection highlighting the main points. If you can get past the overdone, in your face visuals, his message is pretty legit. The video is from YouTube, but the video and script can both be found at robbell.com/resurrection





Jesus is standing in front of the temple in Jerusalem
the massive gleaming brick and stone and gold house of God
and he says destroy this temple
and I’ll rebuild it in three days the people listening to him said how are you going to do that?
it took 46 years to build this temple!
but he wasn’t talking about that temple
he’s talking about himself
he essentially says, listen
I’m going to be killed
that’s where this is headed
because you don’t confront corrupt systems of power
without paying for it
sometimes with your own blood
and so he’s headed to his execution
if y…

Reflections on "Jesus Manifesto"

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I recently finished reading an excellent book coauthored by Len Sweet (The Gospel According to Starbucks, Soul Tsunami) and Frank Viola (Pagan Christianity, Reimagining the Church). There have been throughout the centuries many pendulum swings of Christological thought. It seems that many theologians and scholars are content to take up arms in the debate between the "Jesus of History" and the "Christ of Faith." Leaning too much to any one extreme, however, misses the richness and beauty of the God-Man that we worship. Sweet and Viola have done an outstanding job of refocusing the reader's mind and heart onto the true awesomeness of Jesus the Christ. At the same time, they tackle the tough questions about living as the body of Christ on the earth. I thought I'd start back writing again with some reflections on various parts of the book.

Introduction:
I think this paragraph helps to set the stage for the rest of the book:
"So what is Christianity? It is Chr…

Swim

This song has been on my mind a lot as I am facing the stresses that accompany one's final semester of senior year. Enjoy the video; lyrics are below.



You gotta swim, Swim for your life
Swim for the music that saves you
When you're not so sure you'll survive

You gotta swim, swim when it hurts
The whole world is watching
You haven't come this far to fall off the earth

The currents will pull you
Away from your love
Just keep your head above

Chorus
I found a tidal wave
Begging to tear down the dawn
Memories like bullets
They fired at me from a gun
Cracking the armor yeah
I swim for brighter days
Despite the absence of sun
Choking on salt water
I'm not giving in
Swim

You gotta swim
For nights that won't end,
Swim for your families, your lovers your sisters,
And brothers and friends

Yeah, you gotta swim
For wars without cause
Swim for the lost politicians
Who don't see their greed as a flaw

You gotta swim
Swim in the dark
There's no shame in drifting
Feel the…

Image of God and the Power of Touch

There is a therapeutic element to physical contact. Studies have shown that affectionate touch is critical for a child's development in all dimensions - social, mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual. Babies and infants who a deprived of adequate contact and interaction with parents or caregivers are at much higher risk for mental and social impairment later in life. Not only does physical touch lead to proper human development, it can also mean the difference between life and death in premature newborns. Affectionate human contact can instill an amazing resiliency in newborns that would have no chance of pulling through otherwise. Also, touch therapy and therapeutic massage can increase recovery times and lower stress among the elderly and surgery patients. Beyond that, we are a society that appreciates the value of physical contact. Hugging our children and long-time friends -- kissing our spouse and holding their hand -- giving a good firm hand shake to that person we jus…

Bunnies and Candy and Eggs! Oh My!

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I just finished reading this disturbing study performed by the Barna Group concerning Americans' view of Easter. It is unsettling how many people don't regard Easter as a religious holiday, and of those who do, many fail to associate the holiday with the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Looking at my own past, there has never been an Easter weekend which I remember spending focused on the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. The Lads to Leaders convention, in which I participated from 2nd to 10th grade, is always on Easter weekend. For eight years I spent the weekend of the resurrection in competition with my fellow believers. Then I came to Harding where the biggest event of the year, Spring Sing, dominates the weekend. So again, I have spent 4 or 5 more years supporting or participating in competition on Easter weekend. During the days my Savior was dead, I was singing and dancing for thousands to see. Spring Sing and Lads to Leaders are not bad in and of themselves. An…

Tents and Tarps

Harding University is heading up a fund raising campaign calls Tents and Tarps. A $50 donation will enable us to send a large tent and a large tarp to homeless Haitians. Not only have most of them lost their homes, but most people are afraid to be inside the remaining structures! These tents will address one of their most pressing needs right now: shelter. These tents will enable an entire family to stay warm and dry until permanent, safe shelters can be built. So help us out by donating today! The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.' -Matthew 25:40 _____________________

Love

One of the greatest limitations of the English language is that we only have one word for love. The most common Greek lesson in our churches concerns the Greek forms of love, especially in regards to John 21:15-17. The two words used by Peter and Jesus would best be translated something like this... When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon son of John, do you truly love me [unconditionally] more than these?" "Yes, Lord," he said, "you know that I love you [like a brother]." Jesus said, "Feed my lambs." Again Jesus said, "Simon son of John, do you truly love me [unconditionally]?" He answered, "Yes, Lord, you know that I love you [like a brother]." Jesus said, "Take care of my sheep." The third time he said to him, "Simon son of John, do you [even] love me [like a brother]?" Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, "Do you [even] lo…