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Showing posts from August, 2013

How (Not) To "Twerk" (Or why we need more Vashtis)

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This is not a post about you-know-who. She has gotten so much press and publicity that I don't think I need to promote her by even saying her name.

This is a post about culture. Not youth culture. Not pop culture. But human culture. Other blogs I have read have pointed to the phrase in Ecclesiastes 1:9, "There is nothing new under the sun." We're still the same old humans living in the same old world promoting the same old sins.

Don't believe me? Just compare the MTV Video Music Awards (and many other awards shows) to some of the parties thrown in the Bible.

Take the party of King Herod for instance. Mark 6:14-29 tells us a sad story that began with perverted, lustful entertainment and ended in the death of an innocent man. Herod had married his brother's ex-wife, which would be taboo even today. John the Baptist called him out on his sin and was promptly thrown in prison. Fast forward to Herod's birthday when he decided to host a huge banquet in honor of…

To What Are You Listening?

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I'm weird.

There, I said it.

One of the things that makes me weird, even among Christians is what I listen to. When I'm running in the mornings, mowing the lawn or doing the dishes you will most often find me with my ear buds in my ears connected to the iPhone in my pocket. But I'm not listening to "secular" music. I'm not even listening to "Christian" music.

I'm listening to sermons.

Some people have their audio books. I have my sermon podcasts.

I have six churches, specifically Churches of Christ, to whose podcasts I subsccibe, and I listen to their sermons on a weekly basis. Some people can hardly suffer through one sermon a week - I enjoy listening to about 8 sermons throughout the week (including two from my own congregation of course).

These sermon podcasts have been incredibly helpful to me in my own spiritual development, especially as a young minister just starting out. I would like to pass these along to you if you are interested.

Easts…

2013 Reading List So Far

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I said on Facebook last night, and I'm not ashamed to admit that I am a slow reader. I read at about or a little faster than conversational pace. I think it's due to the fact that we didn't find out I needed glasses until the summer after my first grade year. At the time I was leaning to read and write I couldn't see. Somehow I managed to baffle my teachers and parents with the fact that I couldn't see the board yet I was still doing well in school.

I envy you speed readers out there. I tried a speed reading course in high school - that was a bust.

Anyway, more for my personal satisfaction than for your pleasure I keep a running log of the books I read each year. I am currently working on numbers 21 and 22 on the year. I hope to keep up this pace and lifestyle of reading. It makes life so much more interesting.

Jesus: A Theography, by Len Sweet and Frank ViolaWhispers, by Dean KoontzWild at Heart, by John EldredgePirate Latitudes, by Michael CrichtonWatchers, by Dea…

Are Christians Stupid? Part Deux

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If you haven't read the first post on this issue, please do so now.
If you haven't read the original Huffington Post article that inspired this and the previous blog, do that, too!

ARE CHRISTIANS LESS INTELLIGENT THAN NON-BELIEVERS?
The answer is yes.

Hold your horses. Hear me out. The answer is Yes, Christians are less intelligent than non-believers IF...

Think about what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15:12-19
But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.  More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has…

Are Christians Stupid?

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A friend of mine shared an article this morning that I didn't want to read. I wanted to just brush it off and keep scrolling. But I clicked on the link and read it. And thought about it. And thought some more. Because, contrary to seemingly popular belief, I can still think through things even though I am a Christian.
I encourage you to read the article, too. But read it with an open mind and an open heart. Really try to pay attention to what seems to be going on behind the scenes: Does It Matter That Atheists Are Smarter Than Believers?

Have you read it yet? And have you calmed down a bit? Good. Then let's proceed. Here are some of my initial thoughts, and I'll try to keep them succinct.

WHY WOULD THIS SURPRISE US?
Probably not the first reaction you were expecting. Hear me out. Think about the men that Jesus called to be his closest disciples. They were fishermen, blue-collar workers, a zealot or two, an accountant. They were by no means the religious or intellectual elit…

Bold Prayer

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When did we get off thinking that Christianity was supposed to be easy? Let me rephrase that. When did I get off thinking that Christianity was supposed to be easy?

I can't think of a single time I've had to face any kind of suffering for my faith. I can't think of any close friendships I've lost because I believe that Jesus is the Son of God. I have not been ostracized by my family because of my baptism - in fact, my dad was the one who baptized me.

I have a secure job in a (semi)comfortable office (the A/C is out, but that's my only complaint). I get paid for teaching about Jesus. Never once have I had to fear for the safety of my wife and son because of the fact that I am a minister of the gospel.

You would think that in a nation where Christians are free to worship and practice their faith at will that they would be exuberant, on fire, passionate, and active. But really what we are seeing is a post-Christian society in most of Europe and a (pre)post-Christian s…

The Scariest Chapter in Scripture

There is some pretty scary stuff in the Bible. Have you ever really thought about what it's going to be like when Christ comes back? People bursting out of their graves. Fire. Lightening. War horns. The skies being ripped open. Reading the imagery used by John in Revelation, by Daniel in his prophecies, and even by Jesus toward the end of his life can be frightening.

But in my opinion, the most frightening chapter in all of Scripture is Matthew 25. When I read through the stories Jesus tells in this chapter I realize that I am a foolish virgin, a wicked and lazy servant, and a goat.

TEN VIRGINS
The five foolish maidens ran out of oil while waiting on the bridegroom to come. They left the group in search of more oil. While they were away, the party started without them. They came running back, banging on the door, but their names weren't on the guest list.

They left the group. They went searching for fulfillment somewhere else. Sound familiar?

THREE SERVANTS
A millionaire busines…

The Unknown

We are working our way through the gospels in our Wednesday night teen class. We are in the end of Matthew during the last days of Jesus' life. In chapter 24 his disciples ask him about the end of time, the destruction of the Temple, the return of the Messiah, you know...simple matters.
God's understanding of time is different than ours. He is not bound by the laws of time and space - he created them. He is outside of time. He is on the other side of space. An old hymn, "All Things Praise Thee," has a line in it: Time and space are praising Thee / All things praise Thee, Lord may we.
Humans have a much different understanding of the ocean than fish do. To a fish the ocean may seem infinite, never ending, going on and on forever (see Finding Nemo). But since we are outside of the ocean we know its limits. We know the boundaries of the seas. We know the paths of ocean currents and the timing of the tides. We can enter the ocean at any point we desire and then exit agai…