Thursday, June 30, 2011

A little late to the game here, but...

We as a church are memorizing 1 John 1 together over the summer.  A verse per week until the middle of August.  Join in if you'd like!  Our AWANA kids were challenged to do this when AWANA ended in May.  The AWANA boss came to me and said he'd thought it'd be a good idea if the whole church did it with the kids.  Yep.  That's a good idea.

One of the many benefits of scripture memory is the ability to recall verses on the fly and in the fight.  When you need direction or help, Truth that has been hidden in our hearts can bubble to the surface and often come up in the best of moments because the Spirit of God will bring them up.  When you're in the midst of temptation and seeking to flee it, displacing the temptation with the Truth is easier when it's in your heart.  Again, the Spirit will breathe life into a deadly situation through the Scripture that's in your heart.  On the fly.  In the fight.  It's good.  Really good.

How do you do it?

Well, take the verse with you.  Try to say it 10 times a day.  Make 2 of those out loud to someone, like a spouse or kid or coworker or friend from church.  And make sure you review every day what you've learned already in order to keep it fresh.  Memorizing a passage like 1 John 1 also makes more sense when you get the flow of thought or theme.

You can do it!  And it's really worth it!

But that's just me thinking thoughts...

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

How the YMCA is like our Church

My friend and I hit the YMCA three days per week at O-Dark-30.  We see the same people at the YMCA week in and week out and it hit me:  this is a little bit like church.

The YMCA has a guy who makes a whole lot of grunting, hacking noises when he works out.  Some people at church sing too loudly.  God is probably more pleased with them than me, so I promise I'm not judging.

The YMCA has people there who look lost and confused, not sure where to go next or what to do once they get there.  Some at Heritage Park are new to church and have no idea why we're trying to drown the guy in the water behind the stage or why we hug each other so much or where 2 Timothy is in the Bible.

The YMCA has people who are there for someone else, that person either being there with them or being the reason they work out.  The church shows up for Someone else too.

The YMCA has new, zealous people who are pushing way too hard and will end up hurt or too sore to return.  Church has people who push so hard to serve (often out of guilt) that they end up hurt and sore too.

The YMCA also has plodding, faithful, routine-oriented people who are healthy and solid.  Our church has a lot of those too, for whom I am incredibly grateful and look to them as models for myself and others.

The YMCA is better with a workout partner whose accountability keeps me from sleeping in at least one day a week.  Yep.  Church too.

But that's just me thinking thoughts...

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Why I'm Pro-Camping

Okay, a couple of clarifications.  First, not Harold Camping who just can't seem to get the date right for Jesus' return.  Second, not pitch-a-tent camping.  Our family's definition of camping is when the door opens to the outside rather than an interior hallway.  Sad?  Maybe.  But don't judge.

What I'm talking about is engaging in the activity known as summer camp.

I'm a fan.  As a church, we send our teens to youth camp every year.  We send our late elementary students to preteen camp every year.  And our family goes to Pine Cove Family Camp every summer.  So I'm a believer.  Here are a couple of reasons why.

1.  It creates time and space.  You're normally away from iPods, iPhones, iTunes, and other i-related things.  Getting away from the "i" seems like a good regular plan.  My sweet wife and I have a conversation at Family Camp every year than shapes our coming year and we never try to do so.  It happens because we have the time and space to connect as a couple, reflect on our year behind, and look forward to the year ahead.  For our youth, it pulls them out of their norm and lets them hear from God if they want to listen.  I don't know of another environment into which they venture with that intentional thought as its foundation.

2.  Even though they may be isolated from their normal world, they're also exposed to another world.  They meet friends and others.  They see examples of godliness and stupidity.  They're often exposed to great teaching.  They do have fun too.  But it's all outside their normal context and, therefore, special and memory-making.  What's more, God often rocks their normal world with this other world and some change (be it incremental or radical) happens.

3.  Change happens in the lives of the campers as well as counselors.  I love hearing how our adults come back from preteen camp and youth camp fired up.  I was on the phone last night with my friend Chuck who works with Deer Creek Camp and he told me about the change that he saw happening in the lives of the college students who serve as counselors there.

So color me a fan.  Not every camp is equal, I know.  Some want to move away from the "camp high" altogether.  As for me, I think it's a great idea and still holds a valuable place in the ministry of the church and the life of a family.

But that's just me thinking thoughts...

Monday, June 27, 2011

Truth combats lies

I preached yesterday on purity and one of the main thrusts of the message was encouraging people to "take every thought captive in obedience to Christ" (2 Cor. 10.5).  Let me give a narrative example of how to do this.

Jesus returns from 40 days of fasting to a crafty enemy (see Matthew 4 and Luke 4).  He starts with the most obvious place:  Jesus' hunger.  "You can turn these stones into bread.  Why don't you?"  And then:  "You're the Son of God and Your Father doesn't want you hurt.  How about show off a little bit?"  Finally:  "If you want the kingdoms of this world, worship me."

With each temptation, Jesus not only took every thought captive, but also applied Truth to it, quoting from the Bible (specifically Deuteronomy) each time.

How about us?

When I'm tempted to lust, I pray, "Jesus, I'm taking this thought captive in obedience to you.  I choose instead to think about what's true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, what is excellent, what is worthy of praise" (see Philippians 4.8).

When I'm tempted to rejoice in my status or standing:  "Jesus, I'm taking this thought captive in obedience to you.  I want to be a servant as you were.  I want to empty myself and not rejoice or boast in myself.  I want to be one of the ones who bow down to you today and serve others because you served me" (Philippians 2.1-11).

I could keep going, but will simply say this:  if you're going to fight the fight and win, you have to fight with the Word of God.

But that's just me thinking thoughts...

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Sermon Notes from Sunday, 6.26.11

Here are sermon notes from today's sermon on purity.  You can find the audio and these notes in PDF by visiting  You can also find the sermon audio on iTunes via our podcast.

Taking Aim at Purity
Part 2 – 2 Timothy 2.22

Purity:  cleanliness of heart.
  • Last week’s message:  it only comes through Jesus Christ.

  • Flee impulses that you have not learned to control.
  • Active:  take every thought captive (2 Cor. 10.3-5).
  • Passive:  make no provision for the flesh (Romans 13.14). 

  • Pursue righteousness:  the transforming power of God.
  • Pursue faith:  the outcome of the Word of God.
  • Pursue love:  the desire for God’s best for someone.
  • Pursue peace:  the sense of wholeness with others.
  • The pursuit with others helps us fight the right fight and stay in the fight.

What if I have failed?
  • Flee the voice of the Accuser.
  • Pursue God through confession.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Snakes are Scary: Apparently once was not enough...

Introducing, the trailer for the new (October 2011) Footloose movie...

Get your dance on.

(did they really remake this?)

(did they really mean to?)

Thursday, June 23, 2011


Charles Spurgeon, a Baptist, on theological disagreements with the Wesley brothers, the founders of the Methodist Church:

"I am afraid that most of us are half asleep, and those that are a little awake have not begun to feel. It will be time for us to find fault with John and Charles Wesley, not when we discover their mistakes, but when we have cured our own. When we shall have more piety than they, more fire, more grace, more burning love, more intense unselfishness, then, and not till then, may we begin to find fault and criticize."

Seems like we might learn a little bit from that paragraph the next time we take up an issue of importance, or at least importance to us.

But that's just me (and Spurgeon) thinking thoughts...

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Living FROM

For about the past 6 months, I have been swishing Philippians through my soul like I used to swish jello through my teeth turning it into colored sugar-water.  One of the benefits of praying, thinking, and at times lurching after a book that's inspired by the Holy Spirit is phrases reach out and grab you.  Here's one:

"...but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me His own" (3.12).

I am His own.  I am HIS own.  I am HIS OWN.  His.  I am His.  I am His own.

That's stunning.

And it liberates me to live differently.  I don't have to live so I will be His own (because I already am).  I don't have to try to do the dance to get the approval of a man.  I am God's own.  I don't have to seek the applause of the crowd or the cheers of the bystanders.  I am His own.

But it also gives me something to live for.  I live from the place of being God's own.  I live for the things that Jesus Christ is about.  I live for the things He cares about.  I live for getting to make a difference and impact in this world while I'm here.

But so many live for something so they can find an identity.  Which are you?

But that's just me thinking thoughts...

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Praying for Character Traits

One of the practices we picked up at Family Camp at Pine Cove a couple of years ago was taking a character trait where we thought each person of the family needed development and asking God to shape that in them.  I know as a parent I cannot impart character into my children.  I can model it.  I can teach it.  I can show the importance of it.  I can create an environment for it.  But I cannot build it into them.  God has to do that by His Spirit.  So we pray.

Last year, we prayed for humility, obedience, servanthood, discipline, and security.  This year's list includes authenticity, wisdom, empathy, responsibility, and confidence.  Those are all things we all need for sure, but taking a year to focus on specific traits for specific people seemed like a good plan when we heard it, and it has borne fruit.

We talk about it with our kids.  We post them on our family plate that we write on that we keep in the middle of our kitchen island.  But most of all we pray.

For all the parenting we do, I'm not sure there's much (if anything) that's more important than offering those prayers.

But that's just me thinking thoughts...

Monday, June 20, 2011

Family Camp: what a gift

Every year my family and I make the trek to Tyler, Texas to participate in Family Camp at Pine Cove.  Every year two things happen.  First, I have a year-shaping conversation or two or three with the wife.  Second, we are all sad when we leave, generally including actual tears from the oldest (this year's tears lasted 34 minutes).

The first happens because we have time.  PC is intentional about giving time to parents to be together.  I have never tried to force a conversation with my wife while there.  They always just happen in the midst of the time we spend together.  The guy who did our premarital counseling told us that quality time comes in the midst of quantity time.  He knew what he was talking about.  So this renews my commitment to try to find those moments with my wife in the hustle and bustle of our family's life and ministry.  Three words:  More.  Date.  Nights.

The second happens because we get to experience so much there that's fun and exciting, but we get to do it together.  What's more, PC hires an incredible crop of college students who love on our kids and to whom our kids become attached.  So between the environment, the experiences, and the counselors, our tanks are full at the end and it makes us sad to leave.

I don't know if Pine Cove is for you or not, but I encourage you, dear reader, to think long and hard about your family and how you can be more intentional about quantity time that leads to quality time.  That's what we're working on this year as a family.  I can't wait to see the fruit of it.

But that's just me thinking thoughts...

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Here are the sermon notes from this past Sunday, June 19th.  It was Father's Day and there are some appropriate applications for dads in the sermon.  Most of all, I hoped to remind our congregation that purity of heart only comes from Jesus Himself.  As always, you can find these notes in PDF and the sermon audio on the website (  You can also find the sermon audio on iTunes via our podcast.

Taking Aim at Purity
Part 1 – 2 Timothy 2.22

Purity:  cleanliness of heart.

Defining the Heart:  the core of the self.
  • It is the place from which you speak and act. 
  • It is marred by sin and cleansed by Jesus.
  • This cleansing cannot be achieved from an outside source.
  • It is the target of Jesus’ redemptive work. 

Cleansing the Heart
  • It is not a work of ours but a work of grace (v.25).
  • It is coupled with our repentance – rethinking our thinking about my heart.
  • It leads to Truth which liberates us from our Enemy.  

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Least Common Denominator in Ministry - repost

We need appetites for Kingdom things. Those come when we get more than we can handle.

There is something that frustrates me in Christian Ministry. We have the capacity and even tendency to appeal to the least common denominator. Don't believe me? Some experiences from the past two months might sway you...

I was at a youth camp in Texas. The music was okay. The preaching was okay. The appeals from the stage were okay. Everything about the darn thing was okay. But nothing was outstanding. Nothing pushed the students and adults far beyond their capacity. There were challenges, but even those were just okay.

I watched a preacher on television. That was Mistake #1, I know. But this guy talked about having faith and blessings. No repentance. No glory of God. No cross. No sin. Hardly any Scripture. But faith and blessings? Yep. No wonder we're shallow.

I listened to KSBJ, our local radio station. They play the song too, but it was on the 20: The Countdown Magazine program - which is the Christian version of the Top 40. The song was by a group called Kutless entitled What Faith Can Do. The chorus: I’ve seen dreams that move the mountains / Hope that doesn’t ever end / Even when the sky is falling / I’ve seen miracles just happen / Silent prayers get answered / Broken hearts become brand new / That’s what faith can do. My issue, which I passionately told the radio about, is that it's not faith that does those things. IT'S GOD. God heals, answers prayers, sustains the saints, delivers, mends broken hearts (Ps. 147.3 for instance). On and on I could go.

I'm griping. I admit it. But I don't think I'm wrong. And what's more, I think this entire situation is reflective of a mindset where the least common denominator is our target. That sure seems to me to dishonor God.

I told this story at church a few weeks ago, so forgive me if you were in the audience. I was in 9th grade and my friend C.J. and I played basketball, worked out, and went to Mr. Gatti's just about every day in the summer. He had a car, so he was the driver. It was a great time.

Working out and playing ball burned a ton of calories. We did about 4 hours per day of this, so when it came to be lunch time, we were not just hungry teenagers, we were really hungry teenagers. We ate a lot of pizza from the buffet. We decided to see how many pieces we could eat and, by the end of the summer, we each ate 28 pieces of pizza. In a single setting. With Dr. Pepper to wash it down.

That's gluttonous. I know. I'm not holding myself up as an example. But there is something worth learning from that story: the more you eat, the more your appetite can grow.

It's absolutely true in ministry. The more you take in, even if you don't get it all, understand it all, process it all, like it all, or apply it all, the more you can take in the next time. Ministry should create appetites in the people being ministered to, not just shoot to give everyone a little bit.

One place I've seen it happen in the past year is with our students at church. Kyle, our student pastor, has done a great job teaching them the Bible and giving them way more than they can handle. But our students have grown tremendously from it. Their knowledge and experience are proof that shooting for the lowest common denominator so as not to offend someone doesn't have to be the only ministry model available. It may sell books, it may get records to #1, but does it really produce disciples of Jesus Christ?

But that's just me thinking thoughts...

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Great little lesson... - repost

This guy had death on his mind and knew he needed answers.

Best line:  "...all your questions and your uncertainty are only making things worse...I need someone who will look me in the eye and tell me how to find forgiveness because I am running out of time."

May we all have the courage to stare down death and ready ourselves for it.

But that's just me thinking thoughts...

Monday, June 13, 2011

He revealed Himself on Purpose - repost

I had a great set of interactions the other day with a Baylor alumnae on Facebook, where I often post the link to this blog.  Her argument against my Jesus is My Valentine post had to do with how God is love and He does meet her every need and His love is really enough.  Amen to that.

Amidst the conversations, accusations, and being called dogmatic ("it could benefit the masses to sometimes use less dogmatic statements about how people describe their love for Christ"), something really stuck in my craw.  No, it wasn't a person running to the worn and tired "you're just dogmatic" argument, although that is both worn and tired.  For all who use it, I offer that it's hard to biblical without coming across as dogmatic because you're talking about things that aren't your opinion.  Your other option is syncretism, it seems.  But I digress.

What struck me was the seeming lack of care for God revealing Himself to us in language and images of Hischoosing.  Why do I need to improve on how God chose to reveal Himself to me?  Why do I need to go beyond biblical imagery?  Why do I need to move beyond Father, Lord, King, etc.?

One of the dangers of preaching is using metaphors and images to help people understand the metaphors and images the Bible gives us.  My metaphors and images cannot be confused with God's.  Mine are illustration.  His are revelation.

More on this tomorrow.  I just don't think it's wise to pull images from this confused, broken culture and act or speak as if they're the revelation of God - no matter how much explaining you do.

But that's just me thinking thoughts...

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Super Bowl Commercial that isn't supposed to make it... - repost

So there's a commercial that you're not supposed to see on Super Bowl Sunday.  Apparently, it's already been pulled by the people at the companies involved (including the marketing company who created it).  Here it is, and then some commentary below.

Are you offended by said video?

I generally do not get offended by this kind of thing.  We Christian-types, especially ministers and pastors, have done plenty to deserve the ribbing and satire, be it good-natured or ill-willed.  This one irked me a little.  Here are the two things that offended me.

First, I hate that it belittled Communion.  My wife and I were in San Antonio when she was in graduate school and members of a church that served Communion every week.  I thought, on the front of our time there, that taking Communion every week would dilute the meaning.  It didn't.  It made it even more special.  That's why at Heritage Park, we celebrate Communion on the first Sunday of every month and have had seasons where we celebrate it weekly.  It's important and its message is vital to the health of the church.  You might have guessed that one.

But second, I don't like that it hit home a little too closely on one issue.  We've been guilty, as the evangelical church in America, of being willing to do anything and try anything to get people in the doors.  The problem with that is memorialized in an old saying:  You keep 'em like you catch 'em.  If the draw is Doritos and PepsiMax, you better have that every week and in an increasing quantity.  If the draw is lights and coolness and hip pastors, you better have those in spades and then work to never lose them and improve them week in and week out.  If the draw is killer kid's programs with Wii's on the Children's Ministry hall, then you better have plenty of them and shell out the $$ for the Wii v.2 when it comes out.

You see the issue?  The church can't keep up with the culture.  It changes too rapidly and too dramatically, often too immorally to even parody.  The good news (pun intended) is that we're not supposed to keep up with the trends but stay faithful to the Gospel, the Good News that Jesus reigns over everything.  Yes, by all means, say it in a way that makes sense.  It should be put in a context that helps people understand it.

But the Gospel isn't ever going to be cool or hip.  It's too Real to be a fad.

But that's just me thinking thoughts...

A little blogging break...

For the next week or so, I'm going to take a little blogging sabbatical.  Just a little time to recharge, if you will.  So I'll post a few of my favorites from the past year this week.  Thanks for being a reader!


Friday, June 10, 2011

Snakes are Scary: What do you do when you can't find the words...

This from a guy in our adoption travel group.  You can find his stuff over at

Happy Friday, everyone!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Taking Aim at Evangelism, Final Installment

One of the remaining barriers to evangelism that needs to be discussed, especially in my suburban context of ministry, is simply pace of life.  When we run from ballgame to piano practice to Taco Bell for dinner to the swim party to the movies with friends to Starbucks for coffee to home for some sleep, it's hard to speak of your faith to anyone.

There are two reasons for that.

First, if the pace really is that frantic, you can't have a conversation with someone about anything of eternal value and substantive content.  This is why suburban marriages struggle to communicate about anything more than kids' schedules.  You certainly don't have time to stop long enough to answer a question about God or the Bible or the Kingdom.  When you do talk, it's to your kids in the back who are being too loud or to someone on your cell phone.

Hurry and love are incompatible, dear reader.  There's just no way around that.

Second, because the pace of life also takes a toll on the state of your heart, you come to the place where you don't particularly care about sharing the Gospel.  If you stopped and thought about it (like you might be doing right now, unless of course you're reading this on your Google reader while driving in traffic), you'd care.  You really would.  You might even feel guilty that you haven't told Bob your officemate about Jesus.  But the inadequacy is not in your evangelism.  It's in the lack of discipline to order your time and manage your chaos.

Suburbia's mindset and worldview keeps people in a hurry, so much so they often miss Kingdom opportunities.  Is that you?  Will it be?

But that's just me thinking thoughts...

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Taking Aim at Evangelism, Part 3

One reason we may shy away from sharing our faith is the sense of our own hypocrisy.  We know we're not pure, loving, joyful, at peace, kind, giving, prayerful, disciplined, holy, self-controlled, or any other measure of spirituality we can identify.  So we don't talk about it.

The vehicular equivalent is not putting a fish on your car because you drive like a hellion.  Probably a good play.

We can all identify with the hypocrisy part, whether it be the I'm-not-perfect-but-I'm-still-trying kind or the I-don't-care-that-I'm-a-hypocrite kind.  We say one thing and do another.  We try but fail.  All of us are imperfect.  All of us miss the mark.  We'd probably all be better off if we said this out loud to one another without allowing it to become the excuse for lack of transformation.  But I digress.

True, if you're an unrepentant hypocrite, you do more damage than good when you share your faith.  In fact, please don't tell people anything about Jesus.  Pastors who are in adulterous relationships.  People known for their faith at their workplace but cheat on their expense reports.  Neighbors who rush off to church but can't help but gossip.  None of these are good examples.  None of these provide a credible witness.

But the fact that we fail and live imperfectly is precisely why we need to be vocal about our faith in Christ.  Jesus takes broken, failing, imperfect people and does pretty amazing stuff with them.  Peter failed.  Three times.  But then Pentecost.  Three thousand came to trust Christ through Peter's ministry.

God can and does use the imperfect when they're humble.  He certainly uses their imperfections to humble them.  So pursue Him.  Let Him change you.  Open your mouth about His work in your life.  People will appreciate the honesty.

But that's just me thinking thoughts...

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Taking Aim at Evangelism, Part 2

Continuing with this examination as to why we shy away from sharing our faith, this morning I'd like to think about embarrassment.  I am sure we've all encountered this before.  We're in a conversation, we get the opportunity to share about Christ, and yet we fear embarrassment and so don't share or don't share fully.

Here's a couple of reasons why that might happen...

First, we may not know all the answers to the questions the other people may ask.  They could break out theodicy ("If God is good, why does He allow or cause bad things to happen?").  They could pound us on the arrogance of Jesus' claim of exclusivity ("How can you say that Jesus is the only way?").  They could bring up any number of touchy political or social issues on which evangelical Christians have taken sides:  homosexuality, abortion, immigration, health care, etc.  Related, there's the personal trump card ("I know this guy who's gay but he is the nicest guy and goes to church and everything.  Does God hate him?").

Second, you genuinely like the person and don't want to cause friction between the two of you.  You might hem and haw, hinting at the Gospel.  You might offer some good questions and give them "something to think about."  That's not always bad.  But hiding behind your personal affection for the person isn't very affectionate at all if you won't tell them the truth.

So what do you and I do with embarrassment?  Confess it.  Repent of it.  Remember and preach to ourselves that the fear of man is a snare (Proverbs 29.25).  And above all, remind ourselves that just because they Gospel isn't popular doesn't mean it's not true.

But that's just me thinking thoughts...

Monday, June 6, 2011

Taking Aim at Evangelism

This past Sunday and this coming Sunday, the sermon topic is Taking Aim at Evangelism.  This past Sunday it was all about the Gospel as the content of evangelism.  Next Sunday will be more about methodology.  In preparation for that, here are some thoughts about why we might shy away from sharing our faith.

First issue:  pluralism.

If you don't know what I'm talking about, think about how many worldviews are represented at your workplace or in your neighborhood.  Think about the other religions, the not-religious-but-spiritual, the anti-spiritual and anti-religious.  And there you have it:  pluralism.

In conversations with friends, coworkers, and neighbors, it can really quickly get really uncomfortable for everyone.  It's much easier to "agree to disagree" or hedge with religion being a private matter or offering that we're all probably (or certainly) worshipping the same God anyway.

I taught Titus 3.3-8 yesterday.  Paul finishes that section with an exhortation to Titus to insist on "these things," pointing back to God's move toward us and His saving work in Christ (v.3-7).  It probably wasn't easy for Titus on Crete to insist on Christ in the midst of a pagan and pluralistic culture.  It's not easy for us either.

But insisting on Christ is still the best way.  And insisting on Christ is commanded by God.  And insisting on Christ is the only way people come to know God.  And insisting on Christ leads people to life.

But that's just me thinking thoughts...

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Sermon Notes from Sunday, 6.5.11

Here are the notes from Sunday's sermon in the series Taking Aim.  This one was targeted at evangelism, certainly a tough and uncomfortable topic among people in the church.  As always, you'll be able to find these notes in PDF and the sermon audio at  Give us a few extra days, as our webmaster extraordinaire is on a mission trip.  You will also be able to find the audio on iTunes via our podcast.

Taking Aim at Evangelism
Part 1 – Titus 3.3-8

God shows us up in Christ (v.4)
  • God moves toward a broken world.
  • God is holy and has holy love.
  • God’s love is anchored in the person and work of Christ.
  • False Gospel:  there is another way to know God.

God saves us (v.5)
  • We cannot and do not save ourselves.
  • False Gospel:  sin robs us of fullness and Christ helps us reach our potential.  
  • God has pity on us.
  • Regeneration:  change of allegiance and affection.  

God justifies us (v.7)
  • False Gospel:  sin doesn’t deserve judgment but compassionate understanding.
  • Christ takes our sin and punishment, then gives us His righteousness.

God adopts us (v.7)
  • Christ brings us into His Kingdom as heirs with Him.
  • His redeemed family is central to His redemptive purpose.
  • False Gospel:  salvation is only individual and the church is optional.

Application for Evangelism (v.8)
  • Insist on these things – just because they are not popular doesn’t mean their not true.
  • Demonstrate these things – intentionally and consistently give yourself to good works.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Snakes are Scary: This is just plain bad...

If you don't know the HPD officer pictured below, it's Kevin Will who was killed by a drunk driver while working another accident.  The guy driving the car who took his life blew a .238 on the breathalyzer, a mere three times the legal limit in the state of Texas.  His last act as a living human was to shout a warning to a bystander, saving the man's life.  He had only been on the force for two years, having left the banking industry and taken a pay cut to become part of HPD.  Officer Will left behind a wife and two kids with another on the way.

This is the guy who drove the Volkswagon Beetle that killed Officer Will.  He's an illegal alien, having been deported twice already.  He had a valid Texas Driver's License issued to him in 2007.

I have no idea how to solve the complex issues involved here.  It'll take someone with clarity of vision and a backbone of steel to make heads or tails out of this situation.  Whatever needs to happen, the status quo cannot remain.  Three of the last four HPD officers killed in the line of duty were killed by illegal immigrants.  I don't have the answers.  I do know that there is a widow in the city who is trying to comfort kids tonight.  And I think that stinks.  No bueno.  Not good.

But that's just me thinking thoughts...

Thursday, June 2, 2011

I saw something yesterday...

I was invited to a pastor's lunch yesterday at a church here in town.  They're known for starting out in the Willow Creek model and moving on from there.  I've seen lots of churches start one way and move away from it in the end, so that's not surprising in particular.  For those of you reading who have no idea what that means, it's okay.  It's preacher-talk mainly.  This is a bigger church in the area.  They do better than 3000 people on any given Sunday.  They have seemed like good folks from a distance.

But here's what I saw that stunned me.

They were using their resources and influence (as one of the bigger churches in the area) NOT to make themselves all that bigger but to rally the other pastors to try to reach this area of Houston.  My heart leapt at what I was hearing instead of what I honestly expected to hear.

They fed us a really good meal.  For free.

The pastor got up and talked about his heart to reach the city.  He probably said it 10 times:  "I'm not promoting any program of our church.  I just wanted to get us all in a room and talk about reaching the city."

We prayed.  Together.  About real stuff.

Leveraging their resources and influence.  For the Kingdom.

And on the drive back to my not-as-cool-as-their office, I was grateful.  And I was challenged.  Whatever resources God has given me, am I leveraging them like that?  When my son came in last night and asked if he could give all his $69 to build a house in Haiti, do I have that kind of heart?  How about my influence (whatever level I have of it)?  Am I using the conversations, sermons, leadership decisions, personal interactions, and other moments of influence to do something worthwhile?

I could be easily caught up in worrying about what folks would think.  I could have influence overridden by the passionate desire to be liked.

So could you.

But resources are for leveraging.  Influence is for using for the good.

But that's just me thinking thoughts...

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Disability? Nope

As a dad of two kids with special needs, I occasionally run across stuff that just shows that disability is fairly subjective.  I have two pretty darn capable kids.  And frankly, we all have our issues.

So how about this for dis ability?