Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Loss of a Mentor

I read in a John Stott book once that Christianity is built upon a succession of mentorships. Each one of us, if we had the information, could link our mentorship heritage back to one of the disciples and ultimately Jesus himself. The Bible does not work alone to move people towards God, but he uses a combination of truth and love, the Bible and relationships.

What happens when your mentors fail you? Well, first you get sad. You feel for that failure and grieve for the loss you are about to endure. Then you get an array of other feelings and anger presents itself as the one with the most to say. Then comes the questions

1. What do I do now that I have lost my mentor?
2. What do I do with the truth my mentor taught me?
3. What do I do with my mentor relationally?
4. What do I do with God's desire for my life? What life lesson is God really trying to show me?
5. How do I trust myself to choose another mentor?
6. If I have other mentors, do I still trust them? How much do I trust them?
7. Do I need a mentor? Why?
8. Who could be my next mentor? Where do I look? Is God just going to provide one?
8. What does a mentor offer me that I can't just get from God alone, or myself?

I am working through these types of questions right now. I am trying to understand what part of the succession of mentors in the Kingdom of God do I get to interact with? Who is God going to put in my path next? What are they going to add or take away from my understanding of who God really is?

I believe in the process of mentorship. I believe it is the best form of really being known by another human and another human letting themselves be known. I think heaven is going to be a form of eternal mentorship where God will never use anyone except himself as our mentor. I believe that he was and continued to want to be Adam's mentor. The more we can be mentored by Jesus the more we can truly understand who we are meant to be because he is the one who has achieved what we desire to achieve as humans.

Find a good mentor and pray for their spiritual connection to God to remain consistent and growing.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Facebook Dilemma

I am what I would describe an average user of Facebook. I have some pictures on there. My profile picture is artistically not me but a reflection of the best part of me. I have connected with many friends from the past, and have great fun looking at thoughts from my current friends. I have all my information on there and I have included witty thoughts meant to amuse and cause deep levels of thinking. I play on Facebook and I use it for work. I have tried the chatting a little bit but realized I would rather just call the people and talk to them live. I have joined some causes and I have even said Happy Birthday to a few people. Here's my rub ...

I now have to check my email in two places. I have to go to Facebook to respond to the Facebook emails and then I need to keep checking my regular emails. I do not know if it is hip to send emails anymore or if people just get frustrated because they have to check both as well. Do people like to get stuff on Facebook? I have to admit it is fun when someone comments on you. These are the thoughts that occupy my mind.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Driver's Training

I have to teach my twin boys to drive. This thought occurred to me the other day as I was driving the boys home from preschool. I know it is still a good twelve or so years away, but how am I going to accomplish this feat. It will be a miracle surviving one of them attempting to drive let alone two. These are the things that consume my mind on a daily basis. Hmmm...

Friday, December 12, 2008


It is not a good sign when a person recognizes no difference between sucking sweets and eating a square meal. Equally, it is not a good sign when Christians recognize no difference between social activities in Christian company and fellowship. J.I. Packer

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Stack Approach

Does anyone else us the stack approach towards organization? I have stacks everywhere in my life. I have stacks on my desks. I have stacks of clothes in my room. I have stacks of toys in my truck. When in doubt I stack it.

This might not be the best approach towards organization. I cannot even say it is working for me per se, but it offers an effective way to make the desk clean quick. I am sure it will catch up to me at some point, but for now I am going to stack away.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Time to Get Ready

Well if you have not educated yourself on what the Bible truly has to say about Homosexuality now you need to get to work. We can no longer sit back and just follow the leadership of others. Now we need to understand the truth for ourselves so we can explain it to our friends.

Follow the link to Newsweek Article here.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Christmas Season

I am looking for renewed hope this Christmas season. I want to see the cross come alive and renew me. It has been one of the most spiritual challenging Falls of my life and I want to be refreshed in the hope of the cross during this season more than I have ever before. I want to see God working powerfully in the lives of people around me. I want to see people being able to experience the true joy of Christmas. I want to see it in the heart and eyes of my baby boys.

I am excited for this Christmas because I hope it will be a change and opportunity for renewal.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Christmas Time

I can understand the guy who gave his wife the memory. I gave Adriane a Computer Battery last year for a present. Yikes!!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

My boys would go nuts over this. I am not sure what to make of it. A lot of wasted time and energy, or just outrageous fun for all. Funny at the very least.

Monday, December 1, 2008

2 Sermons on Preaching to the Heart by Tim Keller

Two Sermons by Tim Keller on preaching are available for free. Click here to go the site.

Mark Dever on what it means to fail at evangelism

How is Christianity Relevant?

The Cost of Discipleship

When we come before God with hearts full of contempt and unreconciled with our neighbors, we are, both individually and as a congregation, worshipping an idol.

Psalm 74

Psalm 74 brings to memory the story of Prince Caspian. The children arrive back in Narnia and everyone has forgotten about Narnia. There is only a remnant left and even they have great doubt about the power and might of Aslan. Even the children begin to doubt Alsan and his power.

The Lord can appear to be absent from our life during our suffering. The Psalmist exists in a time of sadness and despair for the nation of Israel. Invaders have ruined the Lord’s Temple and the people of God feel demoralized. They have lost a sense of hope in the Lord and his ability to redeem them.

The Psalmist, however, continues to encourage himself in the Lord. He knows that the Lord is constantly working throughout history to bring redemption to his people. “Yet God my King is from old, working salvation in the midst of the earth (vs. 12).” History, even with its sufferings, is God’s tool to bring about his ultimate plan of salvation to all that call upon his name. History then becomes a display of the power of God working through people to reveal his glory.

The end of the prayer is a request for God to remember what he is doing (vs. 18). There really is no possibility that God has forgotten what he is doing so why does the Psalmist ask him to remember? Is it possible we need to ask God to remember himself, because we can forget him so easily ourselves? It is too easy to forget God when we get busy or hurt or consumed with life. It is easy to let days, weeks, and months go by avoiding our true calling to give God glory. Way too easy.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Psalm 73

I have let "the prosperity of the wicked" undermine my sense that God wants me to enjoy life. I have felt the emotion of envy mentioned in Psalm 73:3 because others have prospered and I have not.

For I was envious of the arrogant
when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.

I find myself humbled by Psalm 73:13-15. In the past I have spoken when I should have been silent. I have shared when I should have listened. I have said many things in the past, from a place of hurt, that would have been better left not said. I have spent many hours searching my own pain internally meanwhile my Savior is sitting alone in my heart wanting me to be with him.

13 All in vain have I kept my heart clean
and washed my hands in innocence.
14 For all the day long I have been stricken
and rebuked every morning.
15 If I had said, “I will speak thus,”
I would have betrayed the generation of your children.

It is so important to not let our emotions like envy, exhaustion, regret, and disgust overcome us. Instead the Psalmist is saying we need to renew our hope in the glory of the Lord.

We also have the added benefit of Christ who relieves our suffering and brings a greater sense of fulfillment to it. So let us remember to careful choose our words and be wise in how we speak them to others. Our hope is in Jesus fulfilling his promise not prosperity in this lifetime.

Friday, November 28, 2008


Thanksgiving is my favorite time of the year. I love it so much because it is really been the most impressive time for me to see the community of my students come to life. So many wonderful years have been spent watching college kids come home after their first months at school, while others come back to visit as young adults with jobs. It is also great because I know my high school students get such encouragement in their faith by watching the richness of the relationships between the older college students and their adult mentors and spiritual leaders.

I am most thankful for the picture that God gives me every year as this transpires. It truly is a moment where the church truly is the church in my life. I long for the day when we will all have rich relationships with one another that will not have the divide of sin hurting us. I am so thankful for the power of the Cross to rid us from this awful plague that sits in our midst. I am tankful for these momentary pictures of eternity.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Civil Religion

I believe the beliefs that Maria Shriver shares in this video is a great summary of a lot of people's faith. I also think this is an excellent picture of what might be called Civil Religion. It is a crossover between the values upheld in America mixed with a sense of God. There is no real limitation on what God can become except probably what is acceptable in American society.

In a very real sense we need to explore what is going to be our main proof text for truth. I think for a lot of Americans it is the Constitution of the United States and tradition. For Christian American's it is the Constitution of the United States and tradition and the Bible. I think this is why the evangelical Christian message is so difficult to get out there these days. I think this is how the cross gets lost.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Office Favorite Moments


I have been greatly enriched by what I have learned about the radical nature of giving that was opened for the disciples of the early church. The freedom that we have in Christ to give as we are led leaves so much room for growth and intensity in our relationship with Jesus. We are never dictated any percentage. We are never given directives beyond having a giving heart in general. If anything the early church view of giving was attached to the principle give until it hurts, but don't give so it kills.

We are all mandated to take care of our family. We need to make sure the needs of our immediate family are met and that we can keep established households. It is God's intention that we live as family, provide for our family and teach our young ones to be responsible so they will do the same in the future. Yet there also is a feeling that we need to keep an accounting of how well we are doing and in the midst of prosperity we must remember others.

It is as if the blessing of giving from our resources is the promise that it won't overtake us. We won't strain so hard on what we have that we kill ourselves continuing to reproduce it. As the saying goes "Too much of a good thing kills." So I think it is important to remember it is not how much should we give, but how much should we spend on ourselves.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Two Friends Part 1

I have a friend who struggles with belief in God because of the Christians in his life. My friend has two relationships that have torn his understanding of God in two.

The first is his father. He was a pastor for many years and taught my friend everything that he knew about God as a child. It was a faith filled with fear because God was watching and he did not like what he saw. The father would motivate my friend through the belief that God had a clear set of desires for his life that were not being fulfilled.

One day my friend got an opportunity to move out of the house and move to the city. He had a crippled faith and not much hope in knowing God or being loved by him. He felt defeated and would rather not spend his life trying to make amends with something or someone he could not really even see.

Within a few years of living in the city my friend entered into the second relationship. Her name was Rachel. Rachel had grown up in a home with many boundaries as well, but little to do about God. Rachel’s parents were schoolteachers and they never really went to church. However, when Rachel was in high school she began to go to a youth group that taught her about Jesus. She learned how incredibly giving and loving Jesus really was. How he offered all of who he was freely to all who would accept him. No boundaries, no lists, no rules, just free love waiting to be grabbed. She loved every part of her experience in church and felt great about her relationship with God.

My friend loved Rachel because she lived life with a sense of freedom that others did not seem to have. Rachel loved being with my friend because he saw how precious and beautiful she was. They enjoyed their time of dating and began to pursue a longer-term commitment with one another. They began giving into themselves physically, emotionally, and spiritually. They knew they were going beyond the limits that God would want for them, but Rachel knew how to express the forgiveness of Jesus so well it left them with shame that could be defeated by mercy. The mercy of the cross has never seemed so real to my friend because he had never seen an ounce of that mercy drawn from the well of his life. Now it seemed like a flood.

My friend began to see Jesus in a new light. He began to experience the cross of Jesus and forgiveness and mercy that flowed. He began to let go of the wounds and fears of God. He shed away the lists and the lies of his father. He began to understand the freedom in God more than he had ever experience before.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

A Wedding Sermon from a Prison Cell

Marriage is more than your love for each other. . . . In your love you see only the heaven of your own happiness, but in marriage you are placed at a post of responsibility towards the world and mankind. Your love is your own private possession, but marriage is more than something personal—it is a status, and office. Just as it is the crown, and not merely the will to rule, that makes the king, so it is marriage, and not merely your love for each other, that joins you together in the sight of God and man. --Bonhoeffer

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

My Love

I have many friends who are in love with politics. I have to say that I didn’t know how many friends I had who were in love with politics before the last election. I have been awed by the reactions of many and I am awed by how I, myself, got caught up in the whole show.

I am very skimpy in my loves in this world. When I fall in love with something or someone it gets all of my attention and most of my thought process, so I typically try to guard my heart from falling in love with too many things. Let’s take Apple products for example. I do not just enjoy my Apple computer; I love my Apple Company and products. I love my iPhone G3 (actually loved my first generation more until it broke). I love my video iPod (the fifth iPod I have owned) that is hooked up to my truck’s sound system (a graduation present from mom and dad). I love video production and photography because Apple makes great applications that allow you to play with them and have fun with them. Apple makes it, I buy it, use it and fall in love.

I also have a deep love of Jesus. I love his word. I love his people. I love those who want to be his people. I love the family of God. I love growing in my own faith. I love reading the Bible. I love reading people’s response to their reading of the Bible. I love conferences that teach about the Lord. I love walking on the beaches talking to the Lord. I love listening to music about the Lord. It is an all-encompassing affection of my heart.

I believe that fundamentally we all want to fall in love with someone or something that can lead, grow, and mature us. I believe we all want to be inspired to grow deeper in the knowledge of what it means to be human. To grow deeper in what it means to experience reality. To share in the community of life.

In the experience of cancer that Adriane and I shared together both us felt so alive in the midst of the great struggle for regaining health. There was such an awakening of what it meant to live and how precious life really was and is! It can serve like a drug though, and once the high of that drug begins to fade you can get left with a deflated feeling inside yourself. Looking for the next high, the next reality to take you to a plain of understanding of existence.

Thus we take up the cause to find something or someone who will really lead us to a different place than where we are. If there is one thing I am certain of is that stagnancy is not the best condition for man. A man or woman at rest for long periods of time leads to psychosis. We are biological organic beings that need to thrive and move forward. I cannot end in the stories I have of people who have stopped moving forward and lost great amounts of who they were because of it.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

National Adoption Month

On Election 2008

I am so excited that today is the voting day. There has been so much build up and hype that I just am excited to see it come to its conclusion. I believe there is an importance to voting that probably only gets recognized if someone tells you that you cannot vote. The thing with Proposition 8 in California is how we lost our right to vote because the decision was made by a group of judges and not the people of California. I do not think it speaks to as what is right or wrong to vote on this issue, just that it should be left in the hands of the voters. 

When asking myself how would God want me to vote I believe this quote I read from The Prodigal God by Tim Keller is helpful. 

So whose side is Jesus on? In the Lord of the Rings, when the hobbits ask the ancient Treebeard whose side he is on, he answers: "I am not altogether on anybody's side, because nobody is altogether on my side ... (But) there are some things, of course, whose side I'm altogether not on." Jesus's own answer to this question, through the parable is, is similar. 
I am proud to be a part of a church that does not get caught up in politics. We do not live in theocracy, but we are called to vote with the Lord in our heart and mind. Each of us must search inside and connect with what God would consider the best for the people that live on the planet. Not with objective of just living, but with the objective they can find true hope, peace, and reliance on Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. The answer to this in the form of politics is not always clear. 

I also like a lot of what John Piper had to say on this election as well. I know it is late, but if you have not voted I think he has lots of wisdom. 

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Counseling with Grace

I heard a term tonight that I have never really reflected upon. "Grace Counseling". What a great term. This is counseling that has at its root the cross as the answer to all questions. What I appreciated about the term however was when I heard that their was someone who was good at it. This has gotten me to think about what would good "Grace Counseling" look? I am not entirely sure but I could imagine these things would be important for reflecting about it: 

1. "Grace Counseling" requires that you bring Jesus into the equation at some point in the counseling. No matter what the goals of the counseling session Jesus has to be included. It does not really matter how big or small.

2. "Grace Counseling" requires you to acknowledge sin as the root of all the problems that we face. It takes any type of blame shifting, justification, or genetic reasoning off the table. It means that you must deal with yourself and the fact that sin has invaded your life.

3. "Grace Counseling" requires that forgiveness is going to reign in the end. Their is going to be forgiveness of others who may have offended. Their is going to be forgiveness of yourself in the process of healing the internal struggles. Their is also going to be forgiveness from God that is unequivocal. It is a deep healing that offers cleansing and renewal. 

4. "Grace Counseling" requires action in the future that comes from true repentance. You can see tangible results in grace counseling because there is going to be a turning from who you were in the past to who you are going to be in the future. The transformation of grace needs to have its impact or their truly is no counseling, healing, or grace taking its course.

These are some reflections of the implications of the concept of "grace counseling". I am sure there are more. 

Don't Waste Your Life

I recently found that Desiring God made John Piper's book "Don't Waste Your Life" an iphone readable book. Find it here.

Friday, October 31, 2008

ESV Study Bible Top 8

I have owned the ESV study Bible for about a week now and have really enjoyed several features of the new study tools. 

  1. The color maps and images are amazing. It is really fascinating to see what the layout of Jerusalem was at the time of Christ, or get a picture of the details of the temple. 

  2. The insightfulness of the notes has been fabulous. So far as well I have noticed the notes align themselves with the type of questions that I am asking about the text. 

  3. I really enjoy the readability of the English Standard Version itself. I am going to have to be careful with telling others how great it is because in the end it is just one version of many English versions that are well written. 

  4. The online feature is amazing for me on many levels that will take up the rest of the list.

  5. I love being able to highlight the text and have it saved online. You get six colors to highlight the text in and then you can print it with the highlights. 

  6. I love being able to download maps and images for presentations in sermons and messages. 

  7. The adding notes feature is okay. It is most useful for scribbling some quick notes for later thoughts. 

  8. Finally, I like the fact they are going to update their notes online as they gain better insight or find other issues that should really be addressed. 
If you would like to learn more about the ESV Study Bible, click here

Tithing 10%?

Getting Ready for a Sermon on Giving in the next few weeks. I thought these stats from were pretty good.

Scripture has a tremendous amount to say about money or material possessions. Sixteen of the thirty-eight parables of Jesus deal with money. One out of every ten verses in the New Testament deal with this subject. Scripture has 500 verses on prayer, less than 500 verses on faith, but over 2,000 verses on the subject of money. Money is an extremely important issue because a person’s attitude toward it is so determinative of his relationship with God, on fulfilling his purpose in this life, and on his character.

So far I think the greatest thing that stands out to me is that giving 10% is kind of the easy way to go when you consider giving. The Old Testament standard is replaced in the New Testament. It is quite true that nowhere in the New Testament does it talk about the 10% tithe. However, for those who would like to pocket some extra money let's not get carried away. The New Testament in a sense is almost asking for more. As Christ has given all of who he is to restore all of who we are, we are called to give unto him all of who we are. The 10% offering has been exchanged for a higher rate and we are going to have to be more forthcoming in our thought process in regards to our giving. The Bible seems to stress the importance of the topic and we must stress it in our economic plan as well.


One of the painful experiences in my faith has been my wife and mine lack of ability to conceive. We have two precious boys that I love very much but there is always sadness about these things that linger like residue on an old window. Today I was made aware of an online book by John Piper that is going to be released next year. The book is entitled “This Momentary Marriage” (if you would like to read the book click here).

I was looking through the chapter list and saw chapter 11 titled ‘Marriage Is Meant for Making Children . . . Disciples of Jesus: How Absolute Is the Duty to Procreate?” I immediately turned to it and then read this passage.

Having Hundreds of Children

In Mark 10:29–30, Jesus says,

“Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life.”

Here Jesus shifts the absolute from having children biologically to having hundreds of children through the family of Christ and through spiritual influence. It might include adoption. It might include foster care. It might include making your home a place for backyard Bible clubs. It might include hospitality in a neighborhood where your home is every kid’s favorite place. It might include your nursery job or your care for your nieces and nephews or the Sunday School class you teach. The point is: Marriage is not absolutely for making children; but it is absolutely for making children followers of Jesus one way or the other, directly or indirectly.

I have known in my heart that God has blessed Adriane and I and he has a plan for us in the loss of having biological children, but I think I needed this chapter to help fill an intellectual gap in the whole process.

The Prodigal God

Tim Keller is coming out with a new book. He mentions on his site that his first book “The Reason for God” was for people who did not believe in the God of the Bible and that this second book “The Prodigal God” is written for believing Christians. If you would like to read more about Tim Keller’s thoughts about this book click here.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Stumbling Block

John Owens lost one family member on the average of every 3 years of his life. Only one of his eleven children survived him. He knows the pain of the cross and in times of pain throughout my life I find so much strength from his wise words about the faith and our struggle in it and with it.

From John Owens “Christologia”:

It is a great promise concerning the person of Christ, as he was to be given unto the church, (for he was a child born, a son given unto us, Isa. ix. 6,) that God would “lay him in Zion for a foundation, a stone, a tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation,” whereon “he that believeth shall not make haste:” Isa. xxviii. 16. Yet was it also foretold concerning him, that this precious foundation should be “for a stone of stumbling, and for a rock of offence, to both the houses of Israel; for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem;” so as that “many among them should stumble, and fall, and be broken, and be snared, and be taken:” Isa. viii. 14, 15. According unto this promise and prediction it hath fallen out in all ages of the church; as the apostle Peter declares concerning the first of them. “Wherefore also,” saith he, “it is contained in the Scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief cornerstone, elect, precious; and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded. Unto ye therefore which believe, he is precious; but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, and a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed:” 1 Pet. ii. 6–8.

On Suffering

I recently read the second chapter of the book “Suffering and the Supremacy of God”. It is a collection of seminars given at the 2005 Desiring God conference. I specifically gained a great amount of strength from the second chapter of this book which opens up with the memoir of Elie Wiesel describing his time in a German concentration camp and how this destroyed his faith. Mark Talbot quoted Wiesel as follows:

In the beginning there was faith—which was childish; trust—which is vain; and illusion—which is dangerous. We believed in God, trusted in man, and lived with the illusion that every one of us has been entrusted with a sacred spark from the Shekhinah’s flame; that every one of us carries in his eyes and in his soul a reflection of God’s image.

I believe so many of us live with this understanding of God and man. We do not understand the quite dominate sense of sins ultimate destruction path. Even in men who try to pursue the Lord with all their might. Sin is a force with devastating effects for those that give it cause.

I believed that I could avoid the affects of sin if I simply lived a good life. Don’t get me wrong I believed that God would still make life “hard” and “difficult”, but I would avoid the “majors” (infertility, cancer, deep betrayal). I believed that these would fall to the wayside for me and mine because I was doing “it” right.

Instead in this chapter Mark Talbot turns us towards the idea that we have to embrace the truth that God created evil and uses evil for his purposes. We cannot accept anything less from a God we consider sovereign. When I read that part I stopped and needed a break. That hurt. However, it is starting to give me peace. I feel the transition in my heart. If you would like to read this article the book is online and you can go to it here. Look for Chapter 2.


I have shared this interview about Ted Bundy many times in talks, but am really excited about the online book called “Porn Again Christian” that Mark Driscoll is doing.

Check it out by clicking here! (not for the faint at heart)


Tim Keller in an interview:

“When revival breaks out through a recovery of the gospel, three things happen:

1. nominal church members realize they’d never been converted;
2. sleepy, lethargic Christians are energized and renewed;
3. outsider non-Christians are attracted into the beautified worship, community and lives of the converted and renewed church members.

That’s how it works. We need it.”