March 26, 2008

The Jonah Syndrome Signs Off

I didn't really expect this day to come this soon. But God has done so many amazing things, that I am truly grateful it has.

The Jonah Syndrome signs off 355 posts and over 15,000 hits after it's first post on October 1, 2006. I wrote my first post the day that the Desiring God National Conference on "The Supremacy Of Christ in a PostModern World" had ended. I based the title of the blog off my own personal experiences and in part influenced by the message that Tim Keller gave at that conference.

That was 18 months ago. WOW! A lot has changed since then. And now here I am fully engaged in the process of planting a church named Eternity and with that transition I have decided to also transition my blog. MY NEW BLOG can be found at:

For those of you who are subscribed via RSS or email, you shouldn't have to change anything, although I plan on posting the next couple of days over at the new site so check to make sure you are still receiving the feeds.

I will leave this blog site up as an archive so to speak for a long while. I have wrestled with whether or not to import my posts into my new site but I have opted for a clean transition.

The time posting on the Syndrome has been good. I've made my share of mistakes and learned a ton about what blogging should and should not be. I'm still so green. But I will also say it has been invaluable for me and would highly recommend it to anyone.

I'm looking forward to so many things in the coming months and God is doing something amazing. I hope you check back in frequently to see how the journey is going.

See you over at

March 24, 2008

A Great Weekend And Pending News

This past weekend was a great time for our family as we got to hang out with friends we hadn't seen in a long while. They live about 500 miles away and one of the things that I like about long car rides is the opportunity that it affords me to listen to sermons, really rap about stuff with my wife, catch up with old friends on the phone, play silly games with my boys in the backseat, and of course - observe church signs along the way.

Now, I'm not a big fan of church signs in general. I kinda share these guys philosophy. I think most of the time, they make Christians look stupid and retarded, as opposed to real and authentic. However, I saw one yesterday that I had to share the photo of.

I love it. And I would love to meet Pastor Greg.

It is so dis-heartening to see how many times we just don't think Jesus will get it done to reach a lost world. We think we have to come up with clever tricks. We think we have to "market" the church or worse, we feel we have to "market" Jesus. And in reality, I just find this sign a good reminder to always remember that the tomb is empty. That Jesus did win the victory. And that in the end, He'll build his church, not me.

It was a great weekend and one that jacked me up about being being a church planter. I am so excited about what I'm doing right now.

Along those lines, some big news coming up later today. Some major changes and steps forward being taken.

Stay tuned…

March 19, 2008

Father - I Want To Be That Kind Of Pastor

The last 24 hours have been to say the least exhilarating to me, encouraging, and at the same time have caused me to take pause.

I don't know why it is, but as each day passes and Eternity continues inching towards becoming a concrete reality as opposed to just a church of the mind, I begin to feel the weight of it a little more and a little more.

And that's what's supposed to happen. But as I drove back from two fantastic meetings yesterday in Jefferson City (both of which could propel Eternity forward in huge ways), I had the opportunity to re-listen to this message from John Piper that he gave at Text and Context. In this message he gave 16 points on how his preaching is shaped by God and then 16 ways his pastoral ministry has shaped his preaching. My favorite was:

6. The suffering of my people has a huge impact on my preaching. It has driven me to think and pray and write and preach about the sovereignty of God in suffering over and over again for the past 28 years.

You really need to listen to the whole thing but as I listened I thought back over the last day and just really felt God working within me to say "I Want That For Eternity", "I Want That For Myself"!

I don't want to be another average pastor. I don't want to just have an average church. I don't want to have an average time in Jefferson City. I want a Christ-exalting, God-glorifying, sacrificial-living, radically-generous, totally loving, excellence seeking church and I so want Eternity to be the vehicle by which God's grace is poured out on Jefferson City and is transformed by a Jesus that most people there have never known.

That's what I want. That's what I pray. Father - please make me that kind of planter. Make me that kind of man. Make us that kind of church.

March 18, 2008

Why Barnes & Noble Is A Very Dangerous Place

Last night, my wife and I had date night. Our boys are out on spring break and hanging with the grandparents, so we availed ourselves of the opportunity to enjoy an evening out.

We had a nice dinner, stopped at a hair cut place to purchase hair product, bought guitar strings, scheduled a pedicure, and then headed to the capstone of the evening - Barnes & Noble.

Now I will confess here, B&N is one of my favorite places in all the universe. I am a book junkie. I love reading. It's like a two year old walking into a McDonald's play place.

So I instantly ditched my wife and began browsing the thousands of choices that awaited me. I was informed that there was no time limit for me doing this, but that there was a dollar limit. So I was bummed right off the bat.

I checked out the new releases, the bargain tables, and made my way to the religion and spirituality sections. On a side note, as I was walking to the religion aisles, I passed three sections that were strategically placed together: Relationships - Sexuality - and Self Improvement. All towards the front of the store and all right next to the Starbucks café. There's a whole 'nother post to be written about that and its implications for me as a beginning church planter, but I'll save that for another day.

I arrive in the religion section and begin perusing the selections. And I'll tell you, before I left for the night, I was concerned, discouraged, and fired up all at the same time. Let me explain why.

I came to the conclusion last night that the word Christianity has no meaning anymore. Not because Jesus isn't the Savior and not because Jesus isn't supreme, but because we're calling everything under the sun Christian these days. I saw this book in the aisle along with this book by John Shelby Spong who has denied every core tenet of the Christian faith starting with the virgin birth and ending with the resurrection. I saw books from liberal Catholic scholars and liberal "New Christians" as Barnes and Noble labeled the table where their books resided.

It was all very disturbing and I said to my wife on more than one occasion that I was looking at books that if people believed and trusted what was written in the pages of them, that we were looking at doorways to hell. Plain and simple.

These were books that have absolutely distorted, redefined, repackaged, and reincarnated a Jesus that never existed. And the saddest part for me was to watch the numerous people who were picking these books up and buying them. I truly hurt for them. I wanted to rip the book out of their hand and warn them about the direction they were headed. I wanted to stop them from jumping off a cliff into a sea of stupidity that will never tell them who the Jesus revealed in the Bible is. I wanted to rescue them from the book they were going to read.

And it hit me: That's why I'm planting Eternity. Because we are in a world where the rough edges on Jesus have been shaved away so that He can be more marketable and palatable to the refined senses of the 21st century.

And I am so passionate about putting the rough edges back on Jesus. His bloody death, His awful suffering, His total humiliation, His victorious resurrection, His final and absolute defeat of all his enemies, His glory as reigning King, and His majesty as ruler of the Universe.

I learned a lot last night at the bookstore. More than I wanted to. But I saw very clearly how a bookstore reflects the battle that we must wage for the hearts and souls of a lost and hurting world.

I only bought one book last night. The title: "Authenticity".

March 14, 2008

How To Be And Encourager In A Discouraging World

Encouragement is hard to come by in life sometimes. We live in a world full of people marred by sin who are much better at seeing what's wrong with the world and the people in it than seeing the good that is happening all around them.

Our news media further this with making sure we are fed hours of the worst things happening on the planets. We are taught this as children because we rarely seize the opportunity to tell our kids when they've done something right, but we are awfully quick to point out when they are doing something wrong. We are taught this in church. When was the last time you truly heard a sermon encouraging you for the progress you have made in your faith?

I think we have this fear sometimes that if we encourage people, they will begin to think that they have arrived and therefore quit trying to progress. When in reality, I think the opposite is true. I think the more we discourage people, the more we cause them to lose hope and the more we stunt their progress. In trying to make them better, we make them far worse.

Why? Because I think it's easier to tell somebody what they've done wrong than it is to tell them what they've done right. Because when we tell someone the things they've done right, we may have to say words like "I appreciate you" or "I'm proud of you" or "I love you" or "I'm thankful for you" or "I couldn't have done it without you". As a general rule, we are poor encouragers. Terrible in many respects. When will we ever get tired of seeing the glass half-empty?

Recently, a guy named Jim Martin, who I have never met personally, but he is a fellow blogger came out with a series called "41 Things Encouragers Ought To Know". You need to read this, print it out, and stick it on every readable place in your home until you become a daily encourager to your family, your friends, your work, your church, and your world. What a difference it would make if we had Christians who were more interested in encouraging one another than grading one another. Anyway, you can read:

I'll also include a few of my favorites below. Be an encouragement to someone today.

7.  Know that an encourager tries to catch another person doing right and affirms that person.  (Don't worry, there will always be people around who are trying to catch people doing the wrong thing.)

9.  Know that an encourager avoids one of the most deadly responses that people can make: silence.  I wonder how many people have worked hard and made themselves vulnerable only to be met with a chilly silence by the people who matter most.

12.  An encourager builds instead of criticizes.  Yes, there are times when a person might have to express a real concern to another.  However, that is likely to be received much better if it is expressed in the context of a relationship built on encouragement.

13.  An encourager has a way of communicating value to another instead of communicating that the person is inadequate or "less than."

14.  An encourager never loses sight of what another is doing right.  Some people become so focused on another's failings that the person is left feeling hopeless.

20.  An encourager communicates hope.  Far too many people live in environments in which they are regularly reminded of the many, many reasons why they will probably fail.

28.  An encourager is very careful with humor.  Many, many people have been devastated by someone who then said, "I was only joking."  An encourager only uses humor that is self-deprecating or is in some way safe.

March 13, 2008

Do You See What I See?

I had a long conversation with a friend yesterday. And it was one of those conversations where you have a pretty good idea what the other person is thinking and what they are going to say, but you still have the conversation anyway. During the conversation, and after, I found myself thinking that I don't see things the way my friend sees them, but yet that would never change the fact that they're a close friend that I care about.

Which brings me to my question for today's post: When did we lose the ability to see things different ways, but still retain our friendship, love, and compassion for one another?

Are you experiencing this at work? Are you experiencing this with friends of your own? We are so prone to simply cast someone aside when they don't see something like we do. We want so much for people to see something "EXACTLY" the way we see it. We draw black and white lines around everything in life and then belittle or insult those who don't want to see the world the way we've drawn the lines.

We do this in church. We do this is politics. We do this education. We do this at work. We do this in just about every area of our life.

Am I saying that lines don't need to be drawn? No…the Bible tells us very clearly what the boundaries and lines of life are.

What I am asking is: Why can't we be more charitable and loving to those who don't see the picture the way we want them to see it?

Where have we lost the ability to love those with different viewpoints?

When have we quit loving our enemies?

When we quit following Jesus and start elevating our opinions above Jesus!

As I get older year by year, I'm beginning to grow in ways I never imagined. Ten years ago, I would never have spoken to my friend again because he just didn't "get it". I would have yelled and argued during the conversation. I would have wondered what was wrong with them.

But I'm beginning to very much understand that vengeance is not mine. It's God's, just like He said it was. I believe with all my heart in calling all men to repent. I believe with all my heart of rebuking those who are wayward and administering church discipline. I believe there are times where friendships must cease because of certain things.

But more times not, that is not the case and we just need to simply "agree to disagree" and still go fishing (or shopping if you're female) together. Too many times we throw a person out because of our disagreement with their views. We sacrifice a friend for an opinion. That leads to a very lonely and hostile life.

I love my friend. I disagree with my friend's views. But I love my friend. And I realize that I don't change people, God does. And while God is working on changing both of us, I want to be able to enjoy my friendship. I don't want to have to choose between my opinion and my friend.

And I don't think I have to.

March 12, 2008

Now You Can Be Part Of The Fun

The audio from the Text and Context conference in Seattle is now online. I want to take a little bit to say here that this was an absolutely life changing conference for me and these are the messages that God used to do that. In them, you will find extremely challenging statements and probably more than once find yourself with your head swimming.

They are not light. They are not easy. And as a general rule, they are directed at men who will are or will be leading a church. If you are on a church staff, wanting to be on a church staff, or looking at planting a church, you need to listen to these. I'll link to them in the order they were preached. Right click on the link to download the Mp3.

Putting Preachers In Their Place - Mark Driscoll
Pastoral Character And Loving People - CJ Mahaney (GOD ROCKED MY WORLD THROUGH THIS ONE)
Why I Trust The Scriptures - John Piper
Fear And Trembling In The Experience Economy - Jim Gilmore (THIS GUY IS BRILLIANT)
Preaching The Gospel From The Center Of the Evangelical World - Matt Chandler
How My Pastoral Ministry Shapes My Pulpit Ministry - John Piper
Vision Of A Church Planter - Matt Chandler
How Do I Distinguish Between the Gospel and false gospels - John Piper
Decoding The Future - The Phoniness - And The Shifting Sands - Jim Gilmore

Driscoll ended with a Q & A time that I don't see online anywhere. Hopefully that will be available sometime in the future. Take a listen, you won't be sorry you did!

March 11, 2008

Why Are Christianity And Acid In The Same Article?

We've recently being going through a series in our community groups here at LifePoint called "The Gospel Centered Life". Throughout that series, we have attempted to really get at the heart of what the Gospel is and how it impacts, transforms, and radically alters our lives. We've talked a lot about "religion" vs. "the gospel" and what the differences truly are.

And yesterday I read this sermon excerpt by Tim Keller via Monergism and it dovetailed so nicely that I wanted to share an excerpt:

This is saying, here is the way you can tell whether you are a Christian or just a moral person ... a Christian or a religious person. A real Christian is a person who says, "it is an absolute miracle that God's loves me. "It's just a miracle that I am a Christian." This is actually an acid test; let me just lay it on you here at the end. There are two kinds of people that go to church: there's religious people and real Christians. And the way you can tell the difference is that a Real Christian is somebody who sees everything that comes as a gift.  In other words a real Christian sees that you are totally in debt to God, but a religious person is someone who is working hard and making an effort and trying to be good, going to Bible studies and just saying "no" everywhere, and denying themselves a lot of pleasures, and so forth, and a religious person is someone who is trying to put God in their debt. That is the difference.  A religious person is someone who is trying to save themselves through their good works. A religious person is somebody who thinks they are putting God in their debt since they have tried so hard. A Christian is somebody who sees themselves as in God's debt. Here is the acid test: If you are a Christian you have a spirit of wonder that permeates your life. You are always saying "how miraculous", "how interplanetary", "how unreal". You are always looking at yourself and saying, "me a Christian ... incredible, miraculous, unbelievable, a joke!!! " but a person who is trying to put God in their debt - there is none of that spirit of wonder at all.

If there is one thing that God has been pounding into me the most lately is this. Am I a Christian who truly lives and understands that my assurance, my justification, my confidence, and my acceptance with God rests not on what I do or don't do, but rather what Jesus did and already has done? Do I live that way? Do I teach others to live that way?

Or am I just religious and standing apart from Jesus? You need to read the whole article.

March 10, 2008

Tim Keller vs. John Maxwell

Picture these two squaring off in the octagon! And tell me that wouldn't be hilarious.

Back when I was in college, I got involved in leadership in a variety of ways in everything from summer freshman orientations to residence life. Ever since then, I have in one capacity or another been drawn to being a leader. Whether it was being a volunteer leader of a sports ministry at my local church, or taking ownership and leadership of a region, or leading and guiding staff to grow a business, or teaching a Sunday school class or community group, I am wired to take the ball and run with it from a leadership perspective.

And again, I find myself in a position of leadership. This time, it will be leading a church plant named Eternity. And as I think about that and how I've grown as a leader, Tim Keller and John Maxwell came to mind. You see, ten years ago, I was reading every leadership book I could get my hands on. I've read:

21 Irrefutable Laws Of Leadership
Jesus The CEO
Lincoln On Leadership
Spiritual Leadership (Blackaby And Sanders)
The Servant Leader
Who Moved My Cheese
The Leaders Legacy
The Pillars Of Leadership

And many more! And here's what I found. None of them prepared me for being a leader. NONE! Am I saying that they were not useful? Not at all. What I am saying is that ultimately, they didn't do a thing to prepare me as a leader. Because they all focused on me. They focused on the checklist of things I needed to do to get people to follow me. They reduced leadership down to a set of "principles" and "laws" that get people to buy into you.

And then there is this quote by Tim Keller:

Most churches make the mistake of selecting as leaders the confident, the competent, and the successful. But what you most need in a leader is someone who has been broken by the knowledge of his or her sin, and even greater knowledge of Jesus' costly grace. The number one leaders in every church(ORGANIZATION emphasis mine) ought to be the people who repent the most fully without excuses, because you don't need any now; the most easily without bitterness; the most publicly and the most joyfully. They know their standing isn't based on their performance.

And it hit me. What has prepared me to be a leader has been Jesus. Jesus has prepared me through His word, through time in prayer with Him, through the thousands of sermons I have listened to, through the countless times He has placed bold and courageous friends in my life to call me to the carpet on my ignorance and my sin. Jesus has prepared me to do what I am doing now. And Jesus will help me to persevere through it. Jesus will be there to hold me when I fall over the coming years. Jesus will be there to rebuke me when I go astray. Jesus will be there to strengthen me, embolden me, and encourage me.

Jesus prepares you to be a leader. Not a book. And to the extent that you are aware of who Jesus is and who you are not will determine how ready you are to lead. So here's a quick suggestion:

Put the man made leadership laws down and get on your knees before Jesus and ask Him to break you and mold you. Man doesn't make a leader. Jesus breaks a leader.

March 07, 2008

I've Finished Listening To "You And You Alone"

A few weeks ago, Challies had an offer on his website to contact Pat and Joel Sczebel to receive the latest release from the Sovereign Grace music family.

I took them up on the offer and had Pat send me a copy of the CD (You And You Alone) free with the only condition being that I would talk about it on my blog.

I didn't know what to expect as I have never really dove into the music offerings from Sovereign Grace nor have I ever attended a service at a Sovereign Grace church. So it was a blank canvas.

First impressions are really good. To give you an idea, I'm more of a "words" man than a "music man" which means that I love old hymns and I hate "7-11" songs. For those of you who don't know what "7-11" songs are, they are songs where you sing 7 words 11 times. They drive me nuts.

The reason I like old hymns is not because I necessarily have a fetish for a pipe organ and stoic, non-moving worship. Ask anyone that stands around me on Sunday morning and they'll tell you how many times they have to duck or rearrange their sight line because my wingspan is in their way. Music moves me, but only when truth conveyed through music is present. I digress...

Hymns convey truth. They are theology put to music basically. They are Scripture brought alive to a melody. They convey truth not just feeling. They are primarily about God and not about man.

So I had a sneaking suspicion that this CD would be good because I know of SG's committment to Biblical truth and I suspect their music would be God centered as well. I was right. Here's the titles:

  • Trust In You
  • Over All
  • Yesterday, Today, And Forever
  • The Greatest Of All
  • In You
  • I Surrender All
  • You Are Good
  • Lord You Are Gracious
  • You Alone
  • Jesus, You Are Beautiful
Now, it is striking to note how many of those songs have "I" in the title. One! And it talks about surrendering thereby placing God as the center still. So even at a first glance of the titles, it's a hit already with me. Also, reusing some good hymn titles, another hit with me.

And then you listen to it, and it's solid stuff that you could do in your church and do well. And to that end, they have included the guitar and chord charts on the CD for your benefit. I'll have to say that listening to this took me back to my days at Hope Point Community Church in Spartanburg, SC listening to Josh Ridings lead worship. And those were good days.

This CD is a good mix of celebratory, confessional, and meditative rhythms. Which I like. I don't like worship CD's that have one beat and that's upbeat. So on variety and throwing unique sounds, it's a good one.

Pat and Joel Sczebel have done a great job on this project. I'm glad I got the CD and I would encourage you to order a copy and give to your worship leader as well.

March 06, 2008

Thank You Thomas Doolittle

If I say the word "Monergism" and that doesn't ring a bell with you, it should. It is, as far as I can tell, the most comprehensive site anywhere in the world on resources for growing in your walk with Jesus. You could hang out on this site for a lifetime and not even come close to digesting all the resources they have pointed you to.

So I'm looking through their RSS feed for yesterday and I came upon this link to a sermon by Thomas Doolittle. Who is Thomas Doolittle you ask? I have no idea. I did however come upon this brief paragraph over at this blog:

Thomas Doolittle (1630-1707) was an English Puritan pastor of the 17th century.  At his death, in 1707, at the age of 77, he was the last surviving pastor of the Great Ejection of 1662 (when more than 2,000 ministers were forcibly removed from their pastorates by the English government) to die.

Anyway, Thomas Doolittle over 300 years ago knew that the name of my church plant would be Eternity and he felt compelled to write an essay helping me share the vision of why the name Eternity is a great name. At least that's how I like to look at it J Here's an excerpt of the sermon I came across yesterday:

The reason moving believers to keep a steadfast eye upon things unseen, and to look off from things seen—is the eternal duration of the one, and the short continuance of the other: "While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen—because the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal." The good things in this world which are seen—as riches, pleasures, honors—are things of time, and only for time; therefore we are not much concerned whether we win or lose them: and the bad things in this life which are seen—as poverty, imprisonment, persecution—are at longest but for a short space; and therefore we are not much concerned whether we endure them, or are freed from them. But that which adds weight to the things in the other world now not seen by the men of this world, and draws our eyes toward them, and keeps them fixed thereon—is the eternity of them.

Are we pleading with our people in our churches to focus not on the things that are seen, but on the things that are unseen? Are we encouraging them to ponder forever? In short, are we pointing them towards Eternity?

March 05, 2008

I've Finished Reading "How To Help People Change"

I was given this book by a friend to read. Prior to reading it, I had never heard of Jay Adams or read any of his books. I had seen his name one time mentioned in another book I was reading on preaching, but other than that I was unfamiliar.

This is a good book. It's a quick read at 200 pages and you'll find yourself making good progress thorough it pretty easily.

The book is based off of 2 Timothy 3:14-17 where Adams sees the progression that Paul uses in that passage as the basic flow we should use in counseling folks. Before I get to that, this book is as much as defense of actually USING the Bible in counseling as it is a handbook on the process to use when using the Bible in counseling. Adams is unapologetic in the fact that in too many counseling circles the Bible has been abandoned altogether in favor of "newer" psychological methods etc.

And so I digress here with this little diatribe. If we aren't going to use the Bible to counsel someone, what exactly is the Bible for? Is it a good storybook? A good placeholder on the coffee table? A dust collector? If we're not going to use it for counsel, wisdom, discernment, etc when people come to us with their broken and hurting lives, when exactly are we going to use it?

Adams makes a much more impassioned plea for nouthetic counseling in the book and you really should read it but I agree whole heartedly that the Bible is sufficient, able, and complete in being able to deal with all peoples emotional, mental, spiritual, and life problems. There isn't one area that the Bible doesn't address and if we don't think we can go to the Word, then we have a defective view of God first and His Bible second.

Okay, moving on. The progression that Adams sees is this:

  1. Teaching
  2. Rebuking
  3. Correcting
  4. Disciplined Training In Righteousness

And he spends the entire book unpacking why this truly is the best process to follow along with various warnings, exhortations, and explanations for those who would be counseling others. If you think about how this process plays out, it really does make sense which isnt' surprising -- don't you think God would make sense sometimes?

Anywho, it's a good book and if you find yourself in a position where you are going to be counseling others on a routine basis, this must be an immediate read. But even if you're not an elder, pastor, or Christian counselor, you could benefit from reading this as I think it would equip you well in counseling friends who are going through hard times or who are having serious struggles.

March 04, 2008

The Pressure Was Intense

And with each passing moment you could feel the temperature in the room rise. On and on it went until it was finally down to two gladiators standing toe to toe ready to do battle. They stared each other down, each one answering the bell knowing that sooner or later the other would have to falter. And then it happened - one of them slipped and just like that it was over. And what seemed like an eternity came to a screeching halt.

No ladies and gentleman this was not a professional mixed martial arts fight. This was a second grade spelling bee. And the lad in the red shirt with a medal around his neck is my son. Although he didn't take home the title of champion, he did take home an award.

If you've never been to a 2nd grade spelling bee, I highly recommend you go. Make sure you get snacks and a drink first as it is likely to last far longer than you had anticipated. Also, bring tissues as it was heartbreaking to see some of the kids fall to pieces after mis-spelling words.

And one rant here: I think it's proposterous that once a kid starts spelling a word - that if they catch themselves spelling it wrongly that they can't go back and spell it correctly. As long as they catch themselves before the end of the word, they ought to be able to start over. What sort of communist world do we live in where little kids are given only half a chance to spell words correctly. But I digress.

Didn't, but, cage, done, ear, chair, key, clothes, learn, fine, book, born, boxes: All the words he spelled right. But then came the dreaded word that brought it to an end: FLOOR...

It was a good time. We poured salt in the winning family's drinks and secretly arranged for them not to be able to make the district spelling bee. My son now has the honor of representing his school in that because the winner was "UNABLE" to make it. Time for the boy to go on a strict regimen of spelling 200 words a night. We may feed him in between sessions but he's gonna have to do a lot better than bowing out on the word "floor".

I'm proud of him and all, but everyone knows these 2nd grade spelling bees are springboards to a bright future for your child. I only want the best for my boy. So it's time to get to work. Time to break out the dictionary and the book of Leviticus - that ought to challenge the spelling abilities.

March 03, 2008

I've Finished Reading "Vintage Jesus"

I received Driscoll's new book as a free gift for attending the Text and Context conference. Prior to receiving the book, I had read Challies review and had seen the uproar the book has caused, especially in some more conservative circles.

So I was interested to read this book for two reasons. First, because I had never actually read a Driscoll book. Second, to see if all the criticism and naysaying was warranted.

After reading it, I have to tell you that I really don't get what everyone's up in arms about. Not only is this book a solid book on Christology and an absolutely through defense of Jesus, it's just downright funny and I suspect is going to be a powerful book along with Keller's "The Reason For God" in helping many churches hand good books to non-believing Christians to introduce them to what Christianity truly is about, namely Jesus.

To give you an idea, one of the blurb writers for the book is J.I. Packer. Do you really think Packer would lend his good name to a book that he believed was heathen or out of bounds. And I think that's what's driving so many people nuts is that they want to paint Driscoll as some out of control freak show, but they can't figure out for the life of them why guys like Piper, Mahaney, Keller, and Dever are building and developing strong pastoral relationships with the guy.

There's a huge effort out there to discredit him, but the more that is pushed, the more he is embraced and pastored by the modern-day apostles of the church. I digress.

The book is 12 chapters, has all the right indices, and is really a good read. It's all about Jesus and the various aspects of Christology. Since it's a book taken from a sermon series, you would expect it to be the same engaging style Driscoll always has.

As a side note, I saw a different Mark Driscoll than I've listened to when I was in Seattle last week. The man, from my perspective, is changing and growing. And that was evident last week. As God continues to work in him and through Mars Hill, I think the best is still in front of them and I think Driscoll could become even more influential than he is right now.

Anywho, good book and I'll leave you with an excerpt that flat made me crack up on the plane home from Seattle:

At this time I was also going to a Catholic church with my parents and in Sunday school they started telling us about Jesus. As they explained Jesus, I wondered if maybe his mom, Mary, had actually given Jesus a lobotomy. The Jesus I was told about could easily have passed for one of the kids in the ghetto daycares near my house who were pumped so full of NyQuil they would sit quietly and drool on themselves while watching cartoons until their moms came to pick them up after work.....Worse still, this weird Jesus seemed to really like sheep. I never saw a picture of him with a baseball glove or other kids, but I did see him with a lot of sheep. Sometimes they even made us glue cotton balls to construction paper in an effort to make our own sheep so that we could apparently be as weird as Jesus. In short, Jesus seemed downright freakish, definitely not the kind of guy you'd want on your baseball team because he'd never have the guts to slide hard into second to break up a double play or throw inside to a batter to back him off the plate. Rather, he'd prefer to pick flowers in the outfield and daydream about fluffy sheep while praying for his enemies and keeping his emotions under control. (pg 41-42)
Driscoll then goes on to describe a very different Jesus that the Bible portrays. You have to read the book.

February 29, 2008

Text And Context (VI) - It's A Wrap

A great week came to a close yesterday as Jenni and I were assessed by three Acts29 church planters. It was a good experience as they asked tough questions but still showed their heart to help us succeed.

After our assessment, we went and had lunch at the Space Needle. If you've never done that, you need to sometime before you meet Jesus. It's a great time. We then began the long journey home which saw us crawl into our beds at 4:00 am this morning.

There are so many things that I will take away from this week and remember. The church planters that I met, the conversations I was blessed to have, the great preaching that we sat under, the hospitality of Mars Hill church, the beauty of Seattle, and the greatness of my wife.

Weeks like this don't happen very often. Maybe once in a lifetime. I'll always be grateful I got to experience it.

Photos and some other stuff still yet to come. But that's all for now...