Thursday, March 31, 2011

Musings of an Adoptive Dad - Part 4

Concluding this series today, I thought I'd post about why we'd do adoption again, particularly international adoption, if God let us.  Of course, He just might.  But that's really up to Him and a discussion to be had later.

First comes the question about money.  Money wasn't an issue when we adopted our little Peanut.  For our part, I'll say that we had a few people contribute to the cause, but we also worked really hard on saving for it.  It was an expensive process, well over $20,000.  That's a lot of dough.  But God provided.  My lovely wife worked some extra, we cut back some, and it came together.  Amen.  We're also seeing some of that come back now through the adoption tax credit.  Amen to that too.  I know others who have struggled significantly.  I don't want to deny that or denigrate them.  I will tell you that God provides.  Faithful is He who calls you and He will bring it to pass (1 Thessalonians 5.24).  We held tightly to that Truth for so many things through this process.

Second, we'd do it again because through adoption we changed the world.  I don't mean that in some triumphal, conquering, slam-dunk sort of way.  We're way more humbled by the process than I imagined.  But I also know with great confidence that there's a little girl sitting in the next room who's eating breakfast with her brother that this same morning would've woken up next to another kid, been untied from her crib, fed porridge because she couldn't have fed herself, and played the day away with 20 others in a room supervised by 2 nannies.  Just now, she walked in having gone to the potty and letting me know that she pulled her big girl undies up "all by myshelf."  It's not that we changed the entire world.  But we changed it for her and for us and for our sons, our extended family, our church family, our neighbors, and, Lord willing, our grandkids and generations of Hendersons to come.

Third, the need isn't going away.  According to my cool friend, Jon Singletary, there are 120,000 adoptable kids in the U.S.  How about this one:  3,000,000 kids in the world ready to adopt.  The need isn't going away.  We chose China because it seems about 1,000,000 of those are in China.

Lastly, our family is better because of it.  I know some of you walked through the adoption with us and you saw the sanctifying process that we went through and, hopefully, are seeing its fruit in our lives.  I know I can.  Perspective.  Patience (?).  Trust.  Compassion.  Gospel.  Selflessness (?).  Love.

I don't know if God will let us adopt again.  I don't know if He'll let you adopt.  But it's amazing.

But that's just me thinking thoughts...

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Musings of an Adoptive Dad - Part 3

Because I'm a pastor and think about things in spiritual terms, it's only appropriate that I spend a moment to comment on how physical adoption reinforced Gospel adoption to me.


I didn't choose God but He chose me because of His great love (Eph. 1.4-5).

I am bought by a significant price and sacrifice on His part (Eph. 1.7).

I am experiencing a life that I never could've created on my own (Eph. 2.8-9).

I am, quite literally, a citizen of a different kind of governance (Eph. 2.11-12).

I was a foreigner to God and He took me in, calling me His own son (Eph. 2.13).

I am now a part of a family that is much bigger and cooler than I could've imagined (Eph. 2.19).

The beauty of all of this:  just as I don't have a regret in the world, neither does He.  Wow.

But that's just me thinking thoughts...

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Musings of an Adoptive Dad - Part 2

I had some fears going into the adoption process that I'll say out loud here so that if you have them or know people who have them, you can at least say you're not alone.

First fear:  can I raise a daughter?  I grew up with two brothers.  I had two sons.  The only females in my life on any kind of closely-tied relational level were my mom and my wife.  I wasn't sure I could do it.  I'm still not sure - we haven't gotten to the puberty-stage yet.  Stay tuned.

Second (and bigger) fear:  can I love my daughter the way I love my sons?  I was there when my sons were born.  I literally saw them take their first breath.  In moments, I knew their APGAR score and was holding their swaddled bodies, singing over them, praying over them, and letting their mom kiss them when I wasn't.  That wasn't the case for my daughter.

Two things changed my fear.  The first were two pictures.

Picture 1:  We were sitting in bed one night when the email dinged on my wife's computer.  We had sent over a care package with snacks and clothes and a pillow with our pictures on it.  In an email, we got a picture of our daughter holding the pillow.  I was done.  In an instantaneous moment of divine heart surgery, I knew she was mine and I was ready to go get her.  We cried when we saw...

Picture 2:  We got our daughter's file of all the things she had recorded since being found.  Included in that was her finding photo.  I'm choked up right now just thinking about it.  I'll not post it here for reasons I will not explain, but I know what she looked like at a few days old (or a few weeks old, we're not exactly sure when it was taken).  I didn't get to hold her then but I am holding her now.  This morning she came down the stairs and into my arms, jammies wrinkled from a long, solid night of sleep and hair looking about the same.  She's mine.

And that leads to the second thing that changed my fear.  This thought hit me (and continues to do so):  there's a difference between being her father and being her dad.  It's not just semantics for me.  She's not mine, but she is.  She's not from me but she's a part of me.  She's not my flesh, but I'd give my life for her.  She's my daughter.  I may not be the guy who is responsible for her being in the world, but I am the guy who is responsible for her.  And gladly.  I may not be her father, but I am her dad.

But that's just me thinking thoughts...

And as a postscript to this, should you want to talk about anything in the adoption process, feel free to contact my wife or me via email:  trent at heritage park dot org (I wrote it out to prevent spammers).

Monday, March 28, 2011

Musings of an Adoptive Dad - Part 1

Since I brought it up in yesterday's sermon (audio should be available here by Wednesday or on iTunes), I thought I'd post this week about some reflections on adoption.  First out of the box and hot in my heart right now is adoption is a calling.

What I said yesterday in the sermon and I've blogged on before I stand behind:  I think every Christian couple should ask if God will let you.  But throwing the door open like that doesn't mean there's not a massive, weighty, spiritual piece to it.  Quite the contrary.  Should God allow you, you'll find yourself caught in this gravitational calling and actually depending on it.  We did.

I remember when it clicked for us.  I remember eating italian food with Ginny and talking about entry into this process.  I remember all the waiting.

We waited a year to get a match.

We waited a long time for our PA.

We waited forever for our RA.

We waited longer than anyone under the non-Hague rules for our TA (over 150 days).

We cried while waiting.

We fussed with God and our boys and one another.

We got promises from God.  None more precious than 1 Thessalonians 5.24:  Faithful is He who calls you and He will bring it to pass.  We clung to that truth like a kid to a lollipop.  Multiple times, I'd tell myself and my wife that we weren't going to stand before Jesus someday to give an account for our lives and tell Him that we quit just because the wait was long and too hard.  The temptation to give up was there.  God's promises are stronger than the promises of temptation.

I received what I thought was a word of knowledge from the Holy Spirit:  January.  Turns out that's the month in which she was born and that's the month we got matched.

We saw God move in the last minute on both our RA and our TA (posts on my wife's blog here and here).

We rode roller coasters of unbelievable heights and depths.

None of it - NONE - could we have endured without the sense of calling.  It's what sustained us.  And that sense of calling is that gravitational pull toward something, giving weight to what you do and keeping you together when everything else is going supernova around you.  We have some friends in the process right now enduring quite a bit of opposition from their family.  Harsh words.  Sinful attitudes.  Guilt.  Frustration.  Prejudice.  You don't endure those kinds of things (especially from family) with eyes on God without that settling, focusing, steadying weight of calling.

Adoption is a calling.  No denying it.  But it could be a calling for a lot more families than you know.

But that's just me thinking thoughts...

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sermon Notes from Sunday 3.27.11

Here are the notes from today's sermon.  We kicked off a series to emphasize our Season of Service.  This first sermon was from Jesus' teaching in Matthew 25.  To hear the sermon audio and get these notes in PDF, visit  You can also find us on iTunes and subscribe to the podcast.

Serve Like Jesus
Part 1 – Serve Like Sheep
Matthew 25.31-46

Serving Sheep are Sheep
  • The big question is how sheep got to be sheep.
  • It isn’t because of what they did. 
  • It isn’t because of who they did it to.
  • It was because of who they are.
  • The way anyone comes into the Kingdom is through confidence in the King (Eph. 2.8-9).

Serving Sheep Serve
  • The service flows from the identity – we are made to do good (Eph. 2.10).
  • There are physical needs around us to be met.
  • There are relational needs around us to be met.
  • Meeting those needs means ministering to Jesus.
  • It’s not always easy, but we are accountable for the good we should do.
  • The issue is shalom – the wholeness and well-being of the world around us.

God cares about the poor (Proverbs 19.17).
  • This is why we’re involved in Haiti.  
  • Affluence doesn’t mean poverty isn’t present.

God cares about orphans and widows (Isaiah 1.23-24).
  • Who around you needs help because they can’t do it themselves?
  • Who around you needs investment because there are absent parents?
  • How can I be involved with helping children?

Friday, March 25, 2011

Snakes are scary: You need a chair?

I really have nothing witty to say.  My observation?  People will put Jesus anywhere to sell something (just look at your local Christian bookstore).

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Christian Community - last post (for now)

I did some reflecting last night and this morning about Christian community and the importance of it and why I felt so strongly to speak up about when I thought it was being maligned and mis-portrayed.

And then I got a gift as a perfect example.

I did about 90 minutes yesterday morning with a friend.  We had a rousing, helpful, insightful, passionate, and friendly discussion about life and theology.  We pondered, wondered, confronted and argued.  What was supposed to be about 45 minutes turned into 90 without a blink.

As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.

And that's why we need people like that in our lives.  It's why we need to consistently find ourselves in circles, gathered around the Bible for conversation that matters.

But that's just me thinking thoughts...

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Christian Community - continued

I argued in yesterday's blog post that Christian community does indeed have a litmus test:  are we living life under the Lordship of Jesus?  To pick up a phrase that we say around Heritage Park quite a bit:  "it's okay not to be okay, it's just not okay to stay that way."

Let me try to explain that a little more.

The fact is we all, to the man, woman, and child, are not okay.  We're born separated from God, sinners by nature and choice.  We have issues and idols, complications and complaints, lostness and lusts, pain and problems, habits and hurts, smallness and selfishness.  The beautiful part about the church is the ability to say that out loud because it's true.  No hiding.  No pretending.  All really have sinned.  And to stand in front of any group of people and say we're all messed up is stating what everyone knows by observation.  In that sense, it's okay not to be okay because we all are precisely that.  I am 100% for accepting people as they are and no matter where they come from or what baggage they're carrying.  Our church is made up of stories that are scarred, colorful, and ugly.  Frankly, I think we do a very good job at taking people as they are and where they are.

But that's not what makes it Christian community.

To think that staying in the same broken and busted life is an okay thing is deceptive and dishonoring.  "It's not okay to stay that way" means that accepting people as they are is only half the story.  There is the issue of Jesus dying and rising again to cleanse us from our past and give us a new kind of life.  Learning from Him, who has the best possible answers to the most important questions, how to live life means that transformation is a normal (if supernatural) part of the Christian experience.  And the commitment to that, or as I stated earlier, the submission to the Lordship of Jesus, is the determining factor of Christian community.

His Lordship means that He gets to determine who we accept (everyone), how we accept people (as broken) and what agenda we pursue together (transformation).  But that certainly is a litmus test, one determined by His Lordship.

But that's just me thinking thoughts...

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Christian Community

Let me start this entry by confessing my appreciation for Eugene Peterson.  I know many a person who's down on the man.  They don't like that he translated his own version of the Bible called The Message.  They don't like that he is (possibly) doctrinally soft in some places or has as broad of a tent as he has.  They don't like that he's got that old, grizzled, wizened, Jedi thing going for him.  

But I'm a fan.

I've read several of his books.  I have The Message on my shelf and crack it open at times.  We don't always see eye to eye, but I don't have to.  He reminds me a lot of my mentor and friend Bill Treadwell (read more here), who also had that old, grizzled, wizened, Jedi thing going for him.

In an interview this past week with Timothy Dalrymple, Peterson implied that to have community means not having a litmus test.  Here's the exact quote:
But the people who are against Rob Bell are not going to reexamine anything.  They have a litmus test for who is a Christian and who is not.  But that’s not what it means to live in community.
Here's my issue with that:  it seems that throughout the NT and in particular the last-half of Paul's letters, community is defined by the litmus test of Christ as Lord of all my life.  The Christian church is in submission to Jesus' authority over every area, such as:
And I could go on and on.

What's more, in the disciplinary passages (e.g. 1 Cor. 5), we see the call to remove people who are out of line with Christ's lordship and unrepentant in that sin.

I recognize that it's popular and culturally acceptable to say we ought to accept everyone.  In a sense, I can see how that's a good thing.  But I also know that the Christian community who live under the Lordship of Jesus does indeed have a litmus test:  is what Jesus wants done getting done?

But that's just me thinking thoughts...

Monday, March 21, 2011


I've been thinking about this post for quite a while now.  I know several folks who have asked about seminary, about when to go, where to go, how to go, etc.  I know people who teach at seminaries now.  And I know people who wish they would've gone or gone to a different seminary.

It's only my opinion, but there is one crucial question you have to ask and answer about seminary:  what is their litmus test?

Every seminary has one.  It can be spoken or unspoken, written or unwritten, explicit or sensed.  One of my friends started his M.A. at RTS but didn't finish.  I asked why and he replied that he was told that he wasn't "reformed enough."  Hello, Litmus Test.  I went to a seminary where the right answer on women in ministry was (and is) that they're perfectly equal and women senior pastors are not only possible but were even encouraged (and at times pushed).  Litmus Test.

So if you're thinking about seminary you need to able to identify the litmus test and determine if you can live with that and its consequences.  I'll give you an example from my own experience.  I was pretty ignorant of the whole litmus test thing going into my seminary schooling.  I knew I needed to go to seminary and I knew I had one in the same town.  2+2=4, right?

I pretty quickly figured out that I was one of the two most conservative people on campus.  I didn't fit theologically because I can't read the New Testament and reach the conclusion that female senior pastors are okay.  I won't do all the argumentation here but will simply say that, while I can't reach the one conclusion in line my seminary's urging, neither do I see the NT making little of women in ministry, classifying them as a second class.

The question I had to come to grips with was whether or not I was okay at being the contrarian in almost every class I took.  I was okay with it, so I stuck it out.

The corollary is whether or not I would be okay with the consequences of having a degree from there.  I was almost struck from the pastoral search process at Heritage Park, where I'm serving now, because of the seminary name next to my M.Div. because they had "heard about" that seminary.  God's obviously bigger than a seminary degree because I'm here.

So if you're thinking about seminary, just remember the litmus test.  There are other important questions, things to consider, and mindsets to take with you.  But the first question about seminary for me is the litmus test.

But that's just me thinking thoughts...

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Sermon Notes from Sunday 3.20.11

Here are the notes from today's sermon.  It wraps up the almost year-long journey through the Gospel of Mark.  It was also a powerful time with the people of God in the presence of Jesus.  As always, you should be able to get these notes and the sermon audio at sometime midweek.  You can also download the podcast on iTunes.

Lean Forward
Part 5 – Even Though…
Mark 14.32-72

Today’s Question:  will I worship when times get hard?

Suffering is Expected
  • Jesus had predicted His suffering 3 times. 
  • Expecting suffering blunts its impact on my heart.

Emotions are Acceptable
  • Jesus held nothing back in His emotional response.
  • The Psalms help me find God-honoring language to go with my emotions.

God is the Same
  • My circumstances have changed, but God’s character has not.
  • My circumstances have changed, but my relationship to God has not.
  • My circumstances have changed, but His perspective has not.

God Knows our Pain
  • Disappointment (v.37-42)
  • Desertion (v.50-52)
  • Injustice (v.53-64)
  • Physical Suffering (v.65)
  • Betrayal (v.43-49, 66-72)
  • Emotional Suffering
  • Spiritual Suffering
  • I worship Him because He can empathize (Heb. 4.15).

The Future is Real
  • Jesus walked through His trial because He could see the future (Heb.12.2).
  • I worship Him because He will bring that promised future to reality.

Our Commitment is Faithfulness
  • Jesus committed to faithfulness at any cost.
  • I worship Him by doing the same thing (Heb. 12.3).

Friday, March 18, 2011

Snakes are scary: I bet Jack would be MAD

There are times when an idea is really really good on the drawing table.  And then, the farther along it gets, the worse the idea becomes.  But at some point you've already invested so much energy, money, and time into it and you have to go through with it.

Welcome to the C.S. Lewis Bible, today's Snakes are Scary but so is This...

If you don't know who C.S. Lewis (or Jack, as his friends called him) is, consider him the 20th century apologist.  He became a follower of Christ later in life while he was a literature professor at Oxford.  He wrote a classic, if flawed in places, statement of the faith called Mere Christianity that anyone who claims to follow Christ should read at some point in their lifetime.  The earlier the better.

But I don't think Dr. Lewis would be proud of this at all.  Seems like he revered the Scriptures (both the content and literary value) too much to have it come to this. 

But then again, HarperCollins has to make money and the Christian niche market seems to like Lewis.  The irony is not lost on me that although HarperCollins owns the NRSV translation which is being published, Lewis himself read the King James Version.  Funny.

Seemed like a good idea at the time, I'm sure.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Moving Past the Surface

After seeing the Martin Bashir video yesterday and doing some more thinking about what he kept asking and what Rob Bell kept dodging, I thought it worthwhile to comment on a thing or two.

First, as the questions kept pointing out but Bell could never explain:  I can say it matters how I live in this life and how I respond to the love of God in this life until I'm blue in the face.  But if "love" ultimately wins in the end and we'll all be rightly related to God, it really doesn't matter.  If someone can answer this dilemma for me, I'm more than open to hearing the argument.

What I would do, then, is live exactly how I wanted to in this life and then plan on getting "won" by "love" in the end.  That way, I can have my cake and eat it too.

Wait a minute, I've heard this before.  Oh yeah, the old gnostic heresy from the first century that the Apostle John fought against.  Their deal was that matter was evil, spirit was good.  So I could do what I wanted to do with my body as long as I "honored God" with my spirit.  Same logic.  Basically the same teaching.  Bad theology.  Seems like someone should've read some more history.

But there's more:  if I can get it all in the end anyway, what's my incentive to live in the love of God now?  Communism failed because it promised people everything in the end while depending on them to produce that everything but with no incentive to do so.  It's a social failure.

Why both of those (gnostics and communists) fail is because they fail to reach the level of the heart.  If my heart is continually inclined toward myself as evidenced by doing what I want or taking without giving, then I'm just as selfish as I've always been though I may wear different philosophical or theological clothes.  There is no heart change.  There is no regeneration.

And if this kind of thinking and teaching makes me more selfish today, why wouldn't it make me more selfish 1000 years from now?  1,000,000,000,000 years from now?  Why wouldn't I just perpetually wait, pursuing my own ends, because I'll be okay in the end - whenever that end comes?  I'd never dislodge me from the throne of my life.  Foolishness.

Secondly, if everyone ultimately is won over by God's love, there is no good answer to the question:  "Why did Jesus have to die?"  Some will posit He did so as an example.  Some will say He did so because of the victory that was coming.  But those are neither biblical nor particularly helpful in answering the question.  So we might as well take Christ off the cross and out of the agony of the Garden.  There IS a way that the cup can pass from Him.  God's just going to win everyone with His love in the end.  Theological fail of cosmic proportions.

The argument was made yesterday on Matthew Paul Turner's blog ( - I read it a couple of times a week because he's an honest provocateur) that it's a greater grace if God saves more or even all people.  I'm not sure about that for a couple of reasons.  Grace is great because it saves anybody (quality) not everybody (quantity).  And grace that seemingly defies justice reminds me of my mom telling me not to cut off my nose to spite my face.  Why would God surrender justice for the sake of mercy and/or grace when He can (and did) accomplish both at the cross?  Seems to me that if it does go down like Bell says it does, we all actually lose the chance for justice, which is the grounds of any forgiveness according to the Bible.  Again, if someone can help me understand this differently, I'm open to it.

Personally, I've been struggling with how much to say and to whom to say it.  I don't think I'm going to bring this up in a sermon.  But if you, dear reader, have further dialogue you want to have about this, please feel free to email me:  trent at heritage park dot org.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Can you say, "Journalism?"

I have no idea who Martin Bashir is.  I don't know if he is a follower of Christ.  I don't know if he's ever read the Bible.  I don't know if he likes hymns or choruses.  I do know that he's a heck of a journalist.  This is what it should be like:  direct questions that are repeated when sidestepped (this goes for politicians too).  Could've done without the snarky British "isn't it" tags on the ends of a couple of those questions...

I won't do this today, but there is a potency to his questions to Rob Bell.  There is more at stake here than we may see on the surface.  That blog tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

King over the Flood

The Lord sits enthroned over the flood the Lord sits enthroned as king forever.  May the Lord give strength to his people!  May the Lord bless his people with peace! (Psalm 29.10-11)

These are the verses that have kept going through my mind as I watch the nonstop coverage of the apocalyptic scenes from Japan.  They need strength from the Lord to recover, to rebuild, to get through, to survive the horror.

In the midst of it all, we can't do what people are inclined to do.  Disaster happens and people question the presence and power of God.  We can't forsake the concept of the God who is enthroned over the flood.  He wasn't caught off guard.  He wasn't asleep.  He isn't now either.

He's enthroned.  

That's what allows Him to give strength and bless.  He's able to provide, work, empower, and show mercy to the people of Japan on March 15th because He was the King on March 11th.  

But that's just me thinking thoughts...

Monday, March 14, 2011

8 Feet

8 feet.

96 inches.

23 inches taller than me.

The height of a normal ceiling.

8 feet.

That's how much Japan shifted from the earthquake.  Can you imagine an entire island just relocating 8 feet away from you?  Pretend you're standing on the shore with toes in the water.  All of the sudden, you're 8 feet from the shore without having moved, without the tide coming in.  The earthquake moved the island - the entire island.

8 feet.

I don't want to negate or downplay their suffering.  It's tremendous.  I told my lovely bride last night that if the death toll only hits 10,000, it will be a miracle.  There are and will be recovery efforts for years, if not centuries depending on what happens at the nuclear plants.

But I'm still astounded by 8 feet.  The earthquake moved the island of Japan by 8 feet.

And God is infinitely more powerful than that.

But that's just me thinking thoughts...

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Sermon Notes from Sunday 3.13.11

Here are the notes from today's sermon on Worship as Giving from Mark 12.35-44.  Our normal webmaster extraordinaire is on the mission field this week, so he'll have some catching up next week on posting the audio and a PDF of these notes at  At some point in the near future, you'll also find the audio on iTunes via our podcast.

Lean Forward
Part 4 – Giving as Worship
Mark 12.35-44

Giving that Worships
  • God-worshipping people have giving as a priority (v.42-43).
  • God-worshipping people know giving requires sacrifice (v.44).
  • Her worship wasn’t in the amount but in the allegiance.  

Our Issues with Giving that Worships

Idolatry – “All you want is my money.” 
  • Temporary treasures are not worth our worship – Matthew 6.19-24
  • You can’t take it with you, but it can take you with it – 1 Timothy 6.6-10

Instruction – “I honestly don’t know what I’m supposed to do.”
  • Giving Path 1:  Tithing – 10% of your earned income to the local church.
  • Giving Path 2:  Offerings – any cause that grabs the affection of my heart.

Information – “If I had known, I would’ve given.”
  • A planned, disciplined approach to giving helps meet needs.
  • A planned, disciplined approach to giving propels you toward generosity.

History – “I gave once and it didn’t go well.”
  • Your history doesn’t negate your obedience.
  • At Heritage Park, there is no question you can’t ask about our finances.

Distance – “Isn’t this just for air-conditioning and copy paper?”
  • If you cannot see the impact, you might not be close enough.

Fear – “I can’t see how we’re going to give this month.”
  • God is a good provider and worth our obedient worship.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Snakes are scary: Early 80's awesomeness

How do you top this?

And if you need more, here's the live version...

And he's still around, apparently on the club scene... (audio not great because it's a club)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

I'm a fan...

Adopt if God will let you. I realize that's a little dangerous, but I'm serious. Unless God says, "No," I think you should seriously consider it. I'm a fan.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Why I read this book...

I can't tell you how many times I've read The God You Can Know by Dan DeHaan.  I can tell you why I keep reading it and why we're reading it as a staff right now.

In justification we stand before God as sinners declared righteous after being accused.  In redemption the sinner stands before God as a slave and is granted freedom by a ransom.  In reconciliation the sinner stands before God as an enemy who becomes a friend.  In forgiveness the sinner stands before God as a debtor whose debt has been paid in full.  In sonship the sinner stands before God as a stranger who is made a son.
~ DeHaan, ch. 8 
That's worth thinking about...

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Proud of my boy...

It's been a day (mostly in the good-kind-of-way).  I'm just now sitting down to sort through emails and get this blog out.  So I'll improvise and post a very cool video of my middle child going mutton bustin'.  For those of you who don't live in Texas, or even the south, you give a kid a helmet and tell him to hold on to a sheep.  Best part about it?  He won his heat!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Spending forever with God?

I'd like to follow up on the post from Friday about Rob Bell's forthcoming book.  No matter what he actually says in the book, what he questions, what conclusions he draws or refuses to draw, or how many books actually sell, there is a serious point to be made here.

I brought this up briefly in my earlier post.  Underneath every question about heaven, hell, eternal life, eternal damnation and all of that is another question.  It's a huge question - even bigger than what happens to you when you die.  Underneath the question about where a man or woman spends eternity (and how long he or she is in that place) is the question about how that man or woman becomes rightly related to the Creator God.

I propose this:  you do need saving from God's judgment.  He is holy and righteous.  We are neither.  He is morally and incorruptibly perfect.  We think perfect is a 10 or 27-0 or a 300 game or a hole-in-one.  He is sinless.  We are by nature and choice sinners.

Any and all judgment that we incur is rightly and justly deserved.  It's not that Jesus has to save us from God.  He has to save us from the judgment we deserve.  And He does so by giving His life in our place as a substitute, absorbing the blow of judgment, taking away our sin, and imputing to us His right-standing with God.

That last paragraph - that's the part we can't forget.  Heaven, hell, and a lot of other things take care of themselves when we get the Gospel right.

But that's just me thinking thoughts...

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Sermon Notes from Sunday 3.6.11

Here are the notes from this past Sunday's sermon on Communion as worship.  As usual, about midweek our website will be updated with these notes in PDF as well as the sermon audio.  Find all of that at  You should also be able to get sermon audio on iTunes.

Lean Forward
Part 3 – The Lord’s Supper
Mark 14.12-31

Summary Statements
  • Worship is not a pursuit of feelings but a pursuit of God.
  • Corporate worship needs to be safe, honest, and guided.
  • There is no worship without sacrifice.

Communion as Worship

Hear the Message
  • Substitute – the body of Christ is broken instead of us.
  • Covenant – the blood of Christ purchases our forgiveness.

Examine Yourself
  • Is there distance between you and God?
  • Is there division between you and another?

Take the Meal
  • When we eat, we remember what He has done for us.
  • When we eat, we participate in relationship with Him.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Snakes are scary: Love wins?

I'm not sure if you have exposure to this guy Rob Bell.  He's creative.  He's a pastor.  He's a deep-thinker.  He has cool glasses.  And if what he's hinting at in this video is anything close to what his book actually espouses, he's also a heretic.  No, I haven't read the book.  Based on previous work, I assume he's going to reinterpret biblical passages more in line with 19th century theological liberalism and then couch it as being faithful.  So, if indeed he is doing what his video points to, let's call it heresy and be done with it.  It's not making us think.  It's not providing another option.  It's heresy.  The Bible calls us to identify it and rebuke it.

The scary part to me is that, along with this viewpoint, he's incredibly popular, shows up on the covers of evangelical magazines, and is revered by a lot of younger believers.  Watch the video, let me know what you think. 

LOVE WINS. from Rob Bell on Vimeo.

Behind the discussion of heaven and hell is the question of how a person is justified before God, which he subtly points out in the video.  Don't ever forget that...

Thursday, March 3, 2011

More living is Christ...

Here is the widow of the guy from the video yesterday.  Wow.

Wow (again).

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Living is Christ, Dying is Gain

I can't think of a better representation of the truth of Paul's statement in Philippians 1.21.  I promise it's worth your 4:30.


He stepped into eternity of 16 May 2010.  More on this tomorrow as I'll post the video of his widow after a year without her husband...

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

What to think about the Mideast...

It's actually an arrogant title for which I apologize.  I'm not telling you what to think.  I'm offering what I think.  I almost titled the post "What I think about the Mideast..." but it's just as arrogant:  why would you care what I think?

But on to the actual topic.

Egypt's in transition.  Libya seems to be in turmoil.  Tunisia is turned over.  Who's next?  What's next?  Who knows?

God does.

According to the Bible, God has "made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place..." (Acts 17.26).  He puts the beginning and the end on each country, republic, tyrant, president, king, and ruling party.  There is a time and place for everything.

I know there are two environments where the Gospel flourishes.  One is persecution.  The other is freedom.  And justice on a social scale, which pleases God, only flourishes in the latter.  So if the uprisings bring freedom, then Amen.

My prayer point and concern is that for societal freedom to really get its roots and flourish, you have to have religious freedom and media freedom.  Those are still up in the air.  But God knows.  So I'll pray.  I invite you to pray too.