Thursday, May 31, 2007


Here’s an interesting poem I came across recently…it’s on the inside of Maria Schneider’s album Allegresse. I think it was written to describe the tune by the same name on the album.

Laurie Frink, June 23, 1998
Flowing Pouring
Sailing Soaring
Searching Learning
Yearning Churning

Melodies Painful
Sounds of Tearing
Souls Tormented
Tortured Baring

Living Fearing
Searing Hearing
Creeping Leaping
Flying Dying

Rhythms Hoping
Harmonies Groping
Compared Despaired

Lives Entwined
Behind Combined
Clutching Touching
Grasping Rasping

Ever Moving
Forward Surging
Stalling Inward
Outward Purging

Shouting Screaming
Demon Dreaming
Wanting Needing
Doubting Conceding

Ginger Peeling
Gentle Healing
Hopeful Posing
Final Closing

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Martino and Sco!

Check out this video of John Scofield (g) playing w/ Pat Martino (g), Joey DeFrancesco (o), and Byron Landham (d). Martino on the head actually sounds quite a bit like Wes Montgomery. Wow!

John Owen: The Church & Scripture

In my devotion this morning I came across these sentences in the Glory of Christ…
“He was to be the prophet of the whole catholic church; that is, of all the elect of God, of all that shall be saved in all ages and places, from the beginning of the world unto the end thereof. [p. 87]”

“His infinite wisdom, his infinite goodness, his essential veracity, his sovereign authority over all, give the highest assurance whereof a created understanding is capable, that nothing is detained from us – that there is no possibility of error or mistake in what is declared unto us, nor any pretence left of declining obedience unto the commands of the truth that we do receive. [p. 94]”

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Children's Books...

Alright, quick question for you. I have a few friends that are freelance visual artists and the thought of their giftedness really make me want to write a children's book [for kids in our church]. What Christian topic(s) do you think would make a great story for a children's book? I have a few ideas, but I'm curious if anyone has any thoughts.

In Christ

Mark Driscoll: A Good Soldier

[HT: Shane Vanderhart]

Iowa and Religious Liberty!

This post is almost exactly what a good friend Shane Vanderhart posted...I have some comments at the very end.

In Christ

Shane Wrote May 25, 2007 - A Sad Day for Iowa
Governor Chet Culver on Friday signed into law "a bill making it illegal to discriminate in employment, public accommodation, credit, housing or education based on a person's sexual orientation or gender identity." (Source: Des Moines Register)

The problem with this law isn't that I want gays, lesbians and transgendered (that concept is still ridiculous to me, like we are able to pick our gender) not to be able to be employed, get a loan, receive an education, obtain housing and the like. What I don't like is taking what many would argue is a behavior, a choice, a "lifestyle" so to speak and making it a protected class. Thereby granting them special rights.

As a Christian working for a para-church Christian organization our right to association should have been honored, and at the very least, an exemption given, but that is not the case. Churches are given an exemption for ordained clergy - you have the right not to hire a gay pastor, but churches can not discriminate against secretaries. One might even wonder if a non-ordained ministry director (such as a youth director) is gay if a church would have to hire that person as well.; Catholic & Christian schools also receive an exemption with teachers and administrators, but not other administrative staff. Boy Scouts receive no protection, as I understand this law.

Do we see the problem with this? It is no longer about equal protection under the law, but now it is about forcing their lifestyle on those who find it sinful. If I am in a church, I shouldn't have to hire a secretary who is a practicing homosexual, just like I wouldn't want to hire a secretary who is addicted to drugs. Christian churches, schools and organizations are not in the habit of hiring people with the knowledge of that person living unrepentant of a sinful lifestyle. This is what this law essentially will force us to do when faced with a homosexual unless we have other documented grounds for not hiring that individual. This is deplorable. I'm looking forward to 2008, I for one am going to remember what this year's General Assembly has done and will do my very best to remind those around me a well.

I see three possibilities (I'm sure there are more). For the local church (1) it very well may force a restructuring of Churches (which may or may not be a good thing), (2) it might force a watered down ordination of ministers, or (3) it might force churches to go liberal theologically (proving their credibility or lack thereof as J. Gresham Machen pointed out that liberalism and Christianity are two distinct religions).

This paints a scary picture for para-church organizations, particularly if there is not a requirement for ordination to serve. Also, what of the women in leadership whom, according to conservative theologians (whom I agree with), are not to be ordained? The floodgates are open.

I think that unless a major work of God takes place we are seeing the end of logical reasoning and religious liberty in our country (politics aside!). Can't people see that this is a violation of church and state in the fact that the state is stepping into the church? Man we better pray...

Friday, May 25, 2007


This video is a little exaggerated, but sadly true of the approach of some churches.

For the glory of God, may the this not be true of the fellowship we worship in!

No Religious Liberty at Iowa State University?

Well, it appears to be that way. I received the latest edition of WORLD magazine last night and to my disappointment (and thankfulness that they published it) this article was in there. It appears that at Iowa State University religious liberty is truly out the back door. Where’s the ACLU now? What do you think? If you're an ISU alum please consider writing a letter to your alma mater. [Below is the entire article which I linked from the title, please take the time to read it. Thanks!]

Publish and perish
SCIENCE: Iowa State denies tenure to an intelligent design advocate with impeccable credentials | Mark Bergin

Astronomer Guillermo Gonzalez never anticipated becoming a test case for academic freedom. Soft-spoken and mild-mannered, the self-described "geek-scientist" is heralded throughout his field for developing the concept of a Galactic Habitable Zone. Journals such as Nature, Science, and Scientific American have featured his work.

But in his spare time, Gonzalez shuns scientific orthodoxy to research evidence for intelligent design (ID), an extracurricular pursuit that draws sharp criticism from many colleagues and now threatens his job. Iowa State University President Gregory Geoffroy denied Gonzalez tenure last month despite a distinguished publishing record that includes 68 peer-reviewed articles.

"I was surprised and a little depressed," Gonzalez said of his emotional reaction. "I almost decided not to turn in an appeal, but several friends convinced me to do so. This might have precedent, so it was important for me to go through it for the sake of others who might go through this in the future."

Gonzalez filed his appeal May 8. President Geoffroy has until June 6 to consider overturning his initial ruling, an unlikely reversal that would defy the consensus recommendation from the tenured faculty of the Physics and Astronomy Department, the chair of that department, a committee from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the dean of that college, and the university provost.

Gonzalez elected not to share with WORLD the specific stated reasons for his tenure denial or the substance of his appeal, fearing such public revelations might hinder the process. He referred to the disputed issues in more general terms: "I really don't think they have a legitimate reason for denying me tenure." He also said that possible discrimination for his views on intelligent design was one of his concerns.

Geoffroy declined to make any public comment on the matter while it remains under review. But Eli Rosenberg, chair of the Physics and Astronomy Department, told WORLD the central issue was not ID: "That was not an overriding factor in the decision that was made at the departmental level. You take a look at somebody's research record over the six-year probationary period and you get a sense whether this is a strong case. Clearly, this was a case that looked like it might be in trouble."

John West of the ID-advancing Discovery Institute, which counts Gonzalez among its senior fellows, scoffs at that explanation. "His department's standards for excellence in research require 15 peer-reviewed publications. Guillermo has nearly 70," West said. "It's pretty apparent that the reason for this tenure denial is because he is a proponent of intelligent design." Statistics obtained by the Discovery Institute reveal that 91 percent of faculty up for tenure this year were approved. Gonzalez fell short of that soft standard despite co-authoring one of his department's textbooks last year.

Two years ago, on the heels of Gonzalez publishing his pro-ID book The Privileged Planet, Iowa State religious studies professor Hector Avalos circulated a petition calling for university faculty to denounce ID as non-science. Avalos, an avowed atheist, procured the signatures of 120 faculty members and generated what Gonzalez calls "an extreme level of hostility against me."

Curtis Struck, a colleague of Gonzalez in the Physics and Astronomy Department and professor at ISU for 24 years, told WORLD he was not surprised by the decision to deny tenure. "Some of Guillermo's papers any astronomer would be proud to have written. Some others that is not the case," Struck said. "He includes some things in his astronomy resumé that other people regard as taking a coincidence too far."

Specifically, Gonzalez listed The Privileged Planet on his resumé when applying for tenure. Rosenberg admitted that the presence of that text played into the decision-making process. He also explained that the reputation of a professor among others in his field is a significant factor.

Gonzalez said he does not regret his ID work despite the resultant grief. He has never introduced the topic into his classes and sees no reason why academia should require him to abandon a personal interest. "I've never been involved in any of the educational debates over whether creation or evolution should be taught in schools. I just want to do ID research on my time," he said. "Maybe I should have waited until after I received tenure."

Copyright © 2007 WORLD Magazine
May 26, 2007, Vol. 22, No. 19

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Approaching Mercy to the Poor

I'm now finishing another book I started before the semester. Ministries of Mercy: The Call of the Jericho Road by Tim Keller. This book is very challenging and it is humbling me...but here's a quick quote that I thought was instructive regarding the simplistic approach to poverty that many conservatives and liberals take.
At first, we must witness to the free love of Christ in our mercy. But at some point, we must call the whole person to Christ. Very, very often, it is the needy person himself who then removes himself from your aid. We must strive to maintain this balance. The problem with "conservatives" is that they tend to establish conditions immediately, denying mercy to people who are living unrighteously. By contrast, "liberals" may never attach conditions to further aid. [pp. 98]

Any thoughts?

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Get Yourself Out of It

I'm finishing some books that I started before last semester started before I get back into Owen's The Glory of Christ. I just finished Feed My Sheep: A Passionate Plea for Preaching and this quote from John MacArthur Jr. stuck out to me.
If you want to be used mightily by God, get yourself out of it. Learn to see yourself as a garbage pail, or, in the words of Peter, clothe yourself with humility. It's not you; it's not your personality; it's the Word of God. He doesn't need the intellectuals. He doesn't need great people, fancy people, or famous people. Because the people aren't the power. The power is the message! "That the surpassing greatness of the power may be of God and not from ourselves [pp. 283]."

Reminds me of John 3:30 "He must increase, but I must decrease. [ESV]"

Friday, May 18, 2007

Mitzvah, Kosher, Heaven, & Hell: Part 2

[FYI...I edited this a little today out of respect for the folks I was speaking with 5/21/07. I'm afraid I was cynical in my original post. I'm sorry.]

My conversation with the rabbi…

The couple I was speaking with earlier (on 5/16/07) left and I walked into the rabbi’s back room and said, “I think that couple I was talking with out there was explaining things to me wrong.” He said, “Well, what did they tell you?” So I proceeded to tell him how they said that basically when we sin against God there are no repercussions, “He’s just bummed a little.” I asked him if that’s correct in his view.

At first he started to discuss how if we break kosher or mitzvah (commands) then we are sinning against God. I was assuming this meant what Scripture teaches about the fact that since God is an eternal God a sin against His holiness would mean that it is an eternal sin that merits eternal punishment…but that’s not what he meant.

I said, “Then when we sin against God and break His commandments then we merit eternal punishment in hell, right?” He said, “No!” So I asked if Judaism believes in a heaven and a hell. He said, “Not in the same way that you do.”

So I asked in what way does Judaism believe in heaven and hell? What he described was interesting to say the least. He didn’t describe either in regard to places that one goes to either be with or without YHWH. I’ll try to explain what he described.

Heaven…he didn’t have much to say other than that democracy as it exists in the U.S.A. is built on torah (laws of God). Seems like it’s a concept that by following the torah we can achieve a God pleasing society?? I asked about the afterlife and he didn’t have much to say at all. This was difficult for me to understand! From what I understood the rabbinical worldview believes in an almost post-millenial view of the kingdom of God (only without Jesus)…that God’s kingdom is being built on earth now through us. I haven't had the opportunity to ask how they believe the mosiach (messiah) will come...but hopefully I will. I pray I can share the gospel clearly, somehow.

Hell…this was interesting. He went back to the parent analogy that the couple I was speaking with early alluded to. He said that God loves and is merciful…why would he create children and then send them to a place like Christians envision hell to be. I said, “Well, we believe that when we sin against God’s holiness and justice it merits eternal punishment…that’s not what you believe?” He said that God’s not like an angry parent handing out punishment for something His children couldn’t control. (It seems that he considers all humanity to be children of God. I thought Jews would not consider all humanity as children of God…only Jews as chosen children of God maybe this is just my misunderstanding.). He described that God isn’t just an angry being handing out condemnation eternally. He drew another analogy to nakedness. He said that to a Jew being seen in your true essence of nakedness is the ultimate shame. I started to relate that to Adam and Eve’s response to God when they were ashamed of their nakedness (Gen 3:7, 10-11) and Noah (Gen 9:22-23), but he didn’t have much to say about this. He proceeded to tell me that in Jewish culture that if he was to see me naked in the shower that is the ultimate shame and ignominy that could happen and we very well may never speak to each other for the rest of our lives. I was trying to understand what this had to do with hell…so I said, “So if you break the mitzvah (commands) and torah (laws) of God then you will suffer in hell eternally.” He said, “No!” I asked with him to explain clearly what they believe. So he said that when we don’t follow God’s commands it is sin. These sins get in the way of us being able to please God, and be happy ourselves. As we miss these “opportunities” to experience God in His law they pile up like garbage in the essence of who we are…he said it’s like, “being filled up our clouded with sin.” The punishment for sin is basically the consequences of not being able to please God and experience punishment on earth for sin. He talked about the soul as being free from the sinful body by following God’s laws…sounds similar Gnosticism to me. Like murder (another analogy)…he started to tell me about Jeffrey Dahmer and how his punishment or hell was the terrible things in life that he experienced and the punishment that he experienced in jail and the death sentence. He told me that he believed that the Christian view of hell is why people are leaving the Christian churches. He said, “I can’t tell you the countless number of women that come into my deli afraid of God…and His wrath and punishment.” I said, “But the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge (Prov 1:7), the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Prov 9:10).” And he said, “Yeah, but not that kind of fear.” When I read the interactions of the Old Testament between God and humanity it seems that they were pretty AFRAID, TERRIFIED, and SCARED. Just seems wrong to say that…

There was almost no reference to the afterlife in our discussion regarding heaven and hell. It was hard to understand. I don’t know how one can come to these conclusions with an honest measured and rational reading of the Hebrew Scriptures. In the future I will try to understand more by reading the Scriptures instead of talking philosophically like we were.

We’re not meeting next week, but I’ll be sure to post more of our discussions in the future. Interesting stuff. If you have the opportunity please pray for these folks. Please pray that they might be receptive to the gospel.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Prophetic Hat

Okay we filled up our Civic this evening and it was about $33.00 for about 10 gallons of gas. I know some of you have it a lot worse, but man that's a lot.

Anyhow, Lindsey and I made predictions...about when we will pay over $40.00 for gas.

My guess is July 4, 2007 and her guess was September 5, 2007.

That's $4.00 a gallon. Put on your prophetic hat...when do you think central Iowa will hit $4.00 a gallon??

What is the Church 1.2

Generally the Greek for the church is ἐκκλησία (ekklesia) which means assembly, “clas. an assembly of the citizens regularly summoned, the legislative assembly; LXX the Jewish congregation; NT the church - either place or body (from"

There are two perspectives (in my mind) that we can consider the church through.

First, in God’s view it is ecumenical/universal assembly of Christians (across time and geography) which exists in local assemblies of Christians.

Second, from a human perspective it is the plural word for Christian…a gathering of Christians…or the place they gather. I’m not going to be discussing the church as location/building, rather the church as assembly.

From my definition of what it means to be a Christian (in my post What is the Church 1.0) I would add to it that once a person is saved they are saved in the context of community. Everyone, including Adam and Eve, was created in the context of community, and when saved one is engrafted (Rom 11:17) as a member into Jesus Christ’s body/bride/church/etc., namely the Christian community.

A Christian does not exist outside of the context of community. There might be a circumstance where a person is physically separated from others (e.g. solitary confinement), but that person is still in some sense part of the Christian community and has fellowship with God by the gracious gift of faith. It seems that a Christian who is free from prison or persecution would have the desire to gather with fellow redeemed sinners. However, in the past even the church under persecution has shown that they will gather no matter what. It seems that much of the fruits of the Spirit imply community (How can love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control [Gal 5:22-23] be seen...let alone even exist outside of the context of relationship?). Here is a snippet from a paper I wrote on the church that is relevant:
No church is perfect. Many Christians have grown dissatisfied with the institution of the church. They have either been hurt by rigid policy (biblical or unbiblical) or emotionally by the Christians that are members. Much of this may also be a byproduct of the pragmatic contrasted with the biblical faithfulness philosophy of ministry. This has driven people to the practice of what George Barna recently argued for in his book Revolution.
The Bible never describes ‘church’ the way we have configured it. The Bible goes to great lengths to teach us principles for living and theology for understanding. However, it provides very little guidance in terms of the methods and structures we must use to make those principles and insights prevail in our lives. It seems that God really doesn’t care how we honor and serve Him, as long as He is number one in our lives and our practices are consistent with His parameters.

Barna, George, Revolution: Worn Out on Church? (Wheaton: Crossway, 2004), 115-16.

Barna is arguing for a half truth. The parameter given by God to honor and serve Him is through the local church. It seems that Barna is arguing for the church as an organism more than the church as an organization or institution. An organism cannot exist without a God ordained organization which, by the power of the Holy Spirit, may take many shapes and forms. Ask any biologist if there is organization in organisms and the answer will be an emphatic, “Yes!” Even the smallest house church has an aspect of organization (even if it doesn’t practice the biblically mandated offices of Pastor, Elder, and Deacon). The argument of Barna encourages the idea that, “No one needs to go to church to be a Christian.” This may be true, but that statement, while intended to convey humility and a radical faith, actually implies spiritual arrogance. This arrogance is fed by human selfishness justified by a consumerist worldview. John Calvin has responded to this perceived humility in independence from the local church:
Separation from the church is the denial of God and Christ. Hence, we must even more avoid so wicked separation. For when with all our might we are attempting to overthrow of God’s truth, we deserve to have him hurl the whole thunderbolt of his wrath to crush us…Therefore, those who more boldly than others incite defection from the church…have for the most part no other reason than by their contempt of all to show they are better than others….For because God willed that the communion of his church be maintained in this outward society, he who out of hatred of the wicked breaks the token of that society treads a path that slopes to fall from the communion of saints.

Calvin, John, The Institutes of the Christian Religion (Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 1960), 1024-25 & 1030-31.

This statement is coming from a reformer! This points to the fact that Calvin and other reformers were not leaving the church; rather, they were reforming it. Separating oneself from the visible church is not an outward sign of a regenerated believer. However, it is impossible to judge a man’s heart.

A church is an assembly that gathers together (Matt 18:20; Heb 10:23-25). The church traditionally has gathered together on Sunday because that is the day the Lord Jesus Christ rose from the dead (Acts 20:7; 1 Cor 16:2; Matt 28:1; Mark 16:2, 9; Luke 24:1; John 20:1, 19). The local church is the only context in which Christians can genuinely fulfill the “each others” and “one-anothers” that the New Testament commands (Mark 9:50; John 13:14, 34-35; 15:12, 17; Rom 12:10; 13:8; 14:13; 15:7, 14; 16:16; 1 Cor 11:33; 12:25; 16:20; 2 Cor 13:12; Gal 5:13, 15, 26; 6:2; Eph 4:2, 32; 5:19, 21; Phil 2:3; Col 3:9, 13, 16; 1 Thess 3:12; 4:9, 18; 5:11; Heb 3:13; 10:24-25; Jas 4:11; 5:9, 16; 1 Pet 1:22; 4:8-10; 5:5, 14; 1 John 3:11, 23; 4:7, 11-12; 2 John 5).

So as Pastor Wayne was pointing to in the comment he posted here there is a dual reality when a person is a Christian. They have been objectively saved individually yet in the very act of salvation they have been inaugurated into community, the Church. They are like two sides of a coin. Similar to when a person conceived and born. He or she is alive personally/individually, yet he or she also exists in the context of a family. So it is in the communion of Saints.

Mitzvah, Kosher, Heaven, & Hell

I had a fascinating conversation with a couple before I met with the local rabbi last night.

We were talking at the kosher deli and a woman came over to get some chocolates. She was pretty upset because they were out of non-dairy chocolates. The couple I was discoursing with was explaining to me that they have to wait six hours before and after eating meat to have dairy products.

I have known a lot of Jews that don’t follow this mitzvah (command) so I started asking a lot of questions, because I honestly am trying to understand what their perspective is and where they are coming from.

I asked, “What happens if you don’t follow the mitzvah and you break kosher?” They said really nothing happens. They said it was a command from God and if you follow it then you make God happy, but if you don’t follow it then God in His mercy is just a little bummed. So I said, “I bet you have to be really careful to eat at a restaurant other than here.” And they told me that they can’t in order to keep kosher. I said, “Is it because there is blood in the meat?” (thinking of Gen 9:4; Lev 3:17; 7:26; 17;12, 14; 19:26; Deut 12:16, 23, 27; 15:23; 1 Sa 14:34; Psalm 50:13; Ezek 33:25). They said, “No!” They explained that it’s only because of the manner in which the meat and food is prepared. I always thought kosher meant the food was blessed by a Jewish priest, but from their perspective it’s just the ritual preparation of the meat.

So back to mitzvah (command). I said so if you break the mitzvah of kosher then God is upset with you? They explained that if you break a mitzvah God isn’t upset He’s just bummed a little. So I said, “Then if you break God’s mitzvah He’s not pleased with you.” The woman looked at me and said, “Well, everything is relative…isn’t it?” I was a little confused what she was talking about, but I asked her to explain. She said that it does bring God pleasure when we follow His mitzvah, but if we don’t it’s no big deal, you can just do what you want to do, it’s a pretty diverse approach. Then the gentleman looked at me and said that they don’t look at God the way Christians do. I asked him to explain. He said that I have the wrong perspective on God and that there really is no consequence if we don’t follow God’s mitzvah, but that we just miss opportunities to connect with God when we don’t follow His commands…that we basically do things to make God happy, but if we don’t it’s no big deal. He said that it’s like parents. Parents don’t have children to punish them, rather to love them. When the kids do bad things against the command of their parents the parents are just a little bummed, that’s all.

Then I asked, “Do you believe in heaven and hell?” And they said yes, but not in the way Christians do…

I was really confused…and they left shortly after all of this. If you are a Jew and can clarify some of what I understood, or support what this couple was telling me that would be great. Is this what all Jews believe, or just this couple? If yes, think we disagree on the interpretation of the Hebrew Scripture. Stay tuned, in my next post I’ll write a little about my conversation with the rabbi that flowed out of this conversation.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Gospel Growth vs. Church Growth

Capitol Hill Baptist Church, Washington, D.C.
With key addresses and practical seminars by
Mark Dever
Phillip Jensen and
Tony Payne

Quick Blurb:
I can think of no other person who can speak with greater authority on ‘Gospel Growth vs. Church Growth’ than Phillip Jensen, Dean of St. Andrew's Cathedral, Sydney. Phillip Jensen's profound understanding of the gospel and how to evangelize has for decades effected a dynamic ministry, not only in Australia but around the world. My advice is to rearrange your calendar and, by all means, attend the conference at Capitol Hill Baptist, October 30-November 1.
(Kent Hughes, General Editor, Preaching the Word commentary series)

For more information see

The Use of Methods in Evangelism

"Whenever wrong methods are popularized, on the basis of a weak or erroneous theology, the work of God is marred and confused. Dependence on men, whoever they are, or upon means, is ultimately the opposite of biblical religion. But where sound theology is weak it is quite possible for success to appear to lie in the very things which out to have been avoided rather than approved."

Iaian Murray p. 412 from Revival and Revivalism: The Making and Marring of American Evangelicalism 1750-1858

Saturday, May 12, 2007

One Reliable Droid, R2-D2 Is

I tried to say that in typical Yoda fashion.

I'm counting on R2 to get me through my classes...I gave him my last assignment to mail out yesterday. He certainly came through for princess he just has to come through for me!

Here are a few classic quotes as well!

"R2-D2, it is you, it is you !" - C3PO to R2-D2 in A New Hope

"R2 says the chances of survival are 725... to one" - C3PO to Leia in Empire Strikes back

"You're a fighsty little one, but you'll soon learn some respect. I have need for you on the master's sail barge and I think you'll fill in nice." - EV9D9 to R2D2 in Return of the Jedi

One final test to take today and then I can respond to some comments that I've let hang, and start doing the Church Series I wanted to do again! Have a great weekend!

Friday, May 11, 2007

Emerging/Emergent in Des Moines

Are you a Christian that lives in the Des Moines (Iowa) area? Do you know anything about the Emerging/Emergent Church movement? Well, maybe you should.

I have had some experience with a few different churches on the west side of town and here's some of what I have learned. There are two very large churches that have a pretty big influence in DSM that I'm thinking of, particularly Lutheran Church of Hope (ELCA) and Valley Evangelical-Free (EFCA).

Valley Church has not made a public statment about their stance or approach to the issue; however, they have had Tony Jones head of Emergent-US come as a guest speaker to their district youth leaders and their high school through college age kids (Jake Bouma talked about it coming up here and he took notes on this lecture here from this post. Also, Brandon Barker, the leader of student ministries at VEFC, posted about this here and here.). Valley Church has an attendance of probably approximately 1,500 every week (e.g. in the 4/29/07 Valleygram it says there was 1,747 in attendance.) All of this being said their most recent church plant Waukee Community Church has identified itself with the views of Mark Driscoll's perspective on the Emergent Church. Kind of confusing I know.

Lutheran Church of Hope has made statements regarding the Emerging church but not the Emergent church...however, in their commenting on the Emerging church they did say they align with the views of Brian McLaren. Their statement is no longer published online. They emailed me a copy of it this week though. If you're interested just let me know. I'd be happy to email it to you. The website where it originally was listed is here where January 21, 2005 is listed. Here are a few quotes from their article:
"Lutheran Church of Hope is an early example of the emerging church."

"Let me try and connect the vision of Hope with what McLaren and other emerging church leaders are articulating."

"Lutheran Church of Hope is revisiting some ideas of Catholicism, Orthodoxy and Anglicanism...deeper sacramentality..."

"I think Lutheran Church of Hope is a concrete example of much of what the emerging church movement is advocating."

Why does any of this matter?? Well, last week I called Lutheran Church of Hope and they said their attendance on 5/29/2007 was over 5,000. Wow! These churches are being influenced by the Emerging/Emergent Church turn they are influencing tons of people in our community. That's a pretty big deal.

Even the church just down the street from me in Waukee Westview Church is doing a preaching series through N. T. Wright's book Simply Christian.

Now, none of this is necessarily bad, I'm just saying that if you know nothing about the Emerging/Emergent Church movement you should probably do some research...because there's a possibility that it is having an influence on the leaders of your local church and you.

Skipper and Crew

Here's a pic of my sister and I out canoeing with my dad in the backyard in the middle of the winter. My dad is holding a chimney sweeping brush in case you were curious...

My Sister and I

Here's a good pic that I thought I'd share...of my sister and I when we were little;) I can see a little of my niece in those eyes!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Fighting Sin...

You think that you are a good person...and then sin comes in and you take a good look into your heart and see nothing but darkness. What do you do when you see the sin in your heart? You find a mirror and you look into it. As you stare into your own eyes you relate with the Scriptures:
"Search me, O God, and know my heart!Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me,and lead me in the way everlasting! (Psalm 139:23-24)"

"For evils have encompassed me beyond number; my iniquities have overtaken me, and I cannot see; they are more than the hairs of my head; my heart fails me. (Psalm 40:12)"

"...The intention of man's heart is evil from his youth... (Genesis 8:21)"

Our heavenly Father, forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Our Status...'s been a while.
  • Still wrapping up the semester @ SBTS...I did okay...but a few things to grow from that have happened. Things have been very busy.
  • Starting tutoring w/ a Orthodox Jewish Rabbai in DSM tonight. Should be fun!
  • Still working at PFG, and Lindsey's still at Allied.
  • We found out that CHBC will be providing housing out in DC...but it's furnished and no pets allowed. We have to figure out how to store our stuff and what to do with our cat, Trixie, for about 5 months.
  • The plan right now is to do the 5 months, August through December, at CHBC and then to go to KY to finish seminary at SBTS. This could change though.
  • We became members of a wonderful church in Waukee and I was baptized about a month ago, we're making a bunch of great friends there. We were actually at Thelma's house last night until after 9:00pm just hanging out. When I was baptized she came up and told me that she was baptized at age 69...Cool!
  • We close on the sale of our house on June 7, 2007.

Hope I didn't miss are you doing? Leave a comment to let me know!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Psalm 14

Hebrew Numbers 1:24-35

Principal Parts Derived Stems

Principal Parts of Qal Stem Weak Roots

7 Major Hebrew Root Stems

Qal Strong Verb Principal Parts

I'm working on memorizing the next few posts...once again I'm doing this as a reminder that when I start blog that I should be memorizing these.

A Diagnosis of the Church

I was catching up with a good friend Rob Young last night and he had a diagnosis for many folks in the church today, and it really popped out to me...
"Our churches are full of Arminians that live like hyper-Calvinists."
I concur!

There are over 400 listings in the phone book for self claiming "Christian" churches in Des Moines, Iowa [not all of these are gospel churches...and I didn't count the LDS/Mormon listings]. Can you imagine what would happen if they were preaching and living the gospel?? I think the Des Moines area would be transformed!

Do any of the pastors that agree with each other on the gospel (e.g. PCA, LCMS, EFCA, SBC, Sovereign Grace...etc.) know their brothers in other denominations? If they don't...what's their plan for reaching this city for Christ??