Wednesday, April 29, 2009

I wanted to try something fun on the blog and do something useful with all of my blog reading. Each week (or so) I will share my favorite blog entries from the past week (or s0). Enjoy!

1. First is a thank you blog post to Ben Peays who helped organize The Gospel Coalition conference this past week (you will notice a Gospel Coalition theme emerging here). Thanks a lot, Ben. 

2. Second is a blog post regarding the newest edition to my favorite commentary set, Pillar Commentary. 

3. Third, is a blog post of the Gospel Coalition messages that are online, or you can go to their website and check them out.

4. Fourth, is a blog post on the difficulties of change that was challenging from Tullian Tchividjian. 

5. Fifth, What it the Gospel Coalition? Great question! Check out this blog post to get an idea, Tim Challies also put up a second blog post for part 2

Monday, April 27, 2009

Supermarket Church

CNN has a report on the growing tendency of Americans to shop for church. This quote came out of a CNN news story posted tonight: 
"You're seeing the free market at work," said Gregory Smith, a research fellow at the Pew Forum. "If people are dissatisfied, they will leave. And if they see something they like better, they will join it."
When we define worship for ourselves, worship itself becomes the idol that we are serving. This was the fundamental problem for the Samaritans. They lost the pathway to understanding salvation because they changed the word of God to their own liking (John 4:21-22). This is why it is so important for us to mediate on Psalms like Psalm 19 that draw us to understand where the truth can be found and where relationship with that truth can be found.  

At The Gospel Coalition last week Joshua Harris gave a presentation on this very real issue in the church community today: Ministering in a Church-Hopping Society

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Don't Waste Your Life Video

I really enjoyed this video by Lecrae. I have not really listened to his music before, but I really enjoyed this. I enjoyed the book Don't Waste your Life by John Piper, but it always surprises me by how much it has touched people. John Piper has an amazing affect on people.

Knowing Jesus through the Bible

I loved this message from John Piper. It gave me a great perspective on how important it really is to keep the Bible at the center of our growth in the Lord. When we invite others into our conversation, through books, discussions, and lectures this is fine, but when we do it in replacement of knowing and learning from the word ourselves then we can fail to recognize the one we need to know most.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

The gospel Coalition: Bay Area

The National Gospel Coalition held their second national conference last week. It was an amazing opportunity to meet with others who share a passion for sharing the gospel message. If you would like to view any of the messages check them out here.

The Gospel Coalition is a network of similar minded pastors, theologians, and church leaders who are committed to the idea that Christ needs to be in the center of our teaching, preaching, and leading. It is the desire of the Gospel Coalition to not only hold national meetings, but regional meetings as well. The first regional meeting is going to be hosted in the Bay Area on May 30th at Central Peninsula Church, Foster City at 9:00 to Noon.

For more information please feel free to email (

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Searching for a Purpose

The most remarkable thing about John 4 is his response to the Woman at the well when he confronts her with her relationships. At the point of confronting her sin he offers her more instead of less. I wonder if we, the church. offer more to sinners or less? Are we more inclusive or less inclusive to people who are sinning and trapped in sin? The very people who need purpose in life also need to understand there is hope for them to find purpose.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Gospel Coalition Day 1

As a first time conference goer it was exciting this morning to drive to the convention center and get started with the day. I was not sure really what to expect, but I was praying it would be good.

I ended up being pretty overwhelmed at first because there were already a lot of people walking around forming lines. Checking in was fairly easy and I was given a free copy of the ESV Study Bible (not sure what I am going to do with it as I already have a copy).

Then I went into the exhibit hall. It can easily be described in one word, books. There were books everywhere, it was a reformed pastors dream world of books. I calmly went around collecting all the free books from the different tables, signed up on the various email lists, and checked everything out. It was overwhelming again for me and I had to go back to the car, put all the books away (that ESV Study Bible is heavy) and then sit for a moment.

It was getting close to the opening session so I went in the main auditorium with 3,000 chairs setup in the room. I found a couple of friends and was able to sit in the first 10 rows (very exciting). I decided that I would only take notes that I would write in my Bible, partly because I just wanted to listen, partly because all of the talks are available, but mostly because I just wanted to interact with it as I heard it.

Tim Keller shared first and spoke from Acts 19, the riot at Ephesus. He mainly focused on the idea of idol worship which he explained as taking good things in creation and making them ultimate things. He said we do this personally, culturally and religiously.

I think one of most powerful moments for me was when he discussed the idea of how we sacrifice our kids on the alter of our idols today. This comes through working from 7 in the morning to 7 at night everyday and then on weekends as well. We leave our kids and families abandoned so we can keep the lifestyle that we demand. He also touched on how we need to, as Christians, be influential enough to where we change culture and upset culture because that is precisely what Paul did everywhere he went. Paul attacked the idols that were controlling the people and moved them towards Christ, it was dangerous work that almost got him killed over and again.

Then after that mind blow, John Piper comes up. Probably one of the best moments of the day is when DA Carson, the MC for the morning called John Piper a dog of the Bible. He basically said that Dr. Piper takes the scripture and treats it like a dog with a bone, just ripping it apart until nothing is left. Dr. Piper of course kept referring to it all throughout his talk and it was awesome.

Dr. Piper's challenge was essentially the theme of the whole book which he found in 2 Tim. 1:6. We are called, as pastors, to continuously fan into the white hot flame that has been put inside of us through the spirit of God. He then proceeded to reveal that the only way we can feed this flame is through the grace of Jesus.

His greatest teaching on the passage came when he taught that the ending of each of Paul's letters has the thought may God's grace go with you. At the beginning of all of Paul's letters it states in some fashion that it's God's grace to you. His thought on this was that the word of God is revealed it is coming into you, and then after the word is given it will and should stay with you. Great Stuff.

The evening consisted of Phil Ryken sharing on the importance of succession of leaders and mentors. The phrase that stuck out to me was "it takes a village to train a child, and it takes a village of pastor to raise one pastor." It has been a blessing for me to see the people God has put in my life to help raise me up as I pursue being a pastor.

Finally, the night ended with Mark Driscoll. His was not the most academic but it cut to the core of where a lot of guys probably find themselves at in ministry. His humor was amazing and his love of the gospel is great. It is obvious that his gift from the Lord is his incredible insight into the hearts of others who are called to pastor. He shared about three types of places we can find ourselves in and how those places can lead us deeper into our walk with Christ.

The notes for all the talks are being posted to The Resurgence website.

Monday, April 20, 2009

The Gospel Coalition is a group of pastors and theologians dedicated to keeping Jesus in the center of preaching and teaching. This week is going to be spent listening to Tim Keller, John Piper, and Don Carson amongst others who share this passion. Tim Keller wrote The Reason For God and The Prodigal God and is responsible for organizing the Gospel Coalition together with DA Carson.

This is the second conference for pastors I have ever attended and am excited to hear them share their faith and thoughts on Scripture. It was fun flying out here and had a fun time talking to the guy in the seat next to me. It has been fun to visit Chicago as well, my first time.

More tomorrow ...

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Who do we worship?

This week I am going to be working on a sermon about worship. One of the greatest questions I think we can ask ourselves is, "Who exactly am I worshipping?" The words "God" and "Jesus" have been so marketed in America that they really don't mean anything anymore. The real question becomes what do we believe about Jesus and what do we believe about God.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Day of Silence

This next Friday schools will participate in the "Day of Silence". This is an event that brings to light the harassment of homosexuals on campus. Several national Christian coalitions have come together to offer resistance to this event, basically calling Christians to avoid attendance on this day.

I have been around Christian high school students for my entire career and I have to admit I think this "Day of Silence" sounds like a good idea. It is a constant battle to make students aware of how damaging this issue is to the faith. Most of what Christianity stands for makes immediate sense to us, but this one is a bit more difficult to swallow for people.

The most difficult conversations I have had are with Christians who struggle with homosexuality. They understand that it is a sin and pray for God to take this away from their heart but it remains all the same. All they want is for the temptation to leave them, but it doesn't. This is just another example of how frustrating our sin condition really is as we try to conform ourselves to Christ.

My hope would be that our high school students could go to school on this day and remember the call to show their love of Christ. I would hope they would remember on this day that they have victory over sin and their responsibility is to share in love how to claim victory over sin. I would hope that we could see this as an opportunity to be more aware of the sin condition of both those who struggle with homosexuality as well as those who struggle with taming the tongue.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Mexico in the Dawn

I sit here now in the quite of my home waiting for my kids and wife to return with our dinner. I am excited about going to the park, eating, and enjoying a last few moments with them before heading off to Mexico with 80 other folks.

It is a humbling thing going to a country torn apart by a drug war. It is even more humbling being trusted by parents with their kids to help them grow in their faith. Being in love with Jesus brings you into many circumstances in life that don't seem rational at the time, but upon reflection afterwards seem perfectly rational. This is one of those times ...

It doesn't seem rational to take the one week of vacation and work harder than your actual job or school. It doesn't seem rational to pay money to build a home for other people that you have never met and will probably never see again. It doesn't seem rational that building a building would communicate the radical love of Jesus dying on the cross.

The lesson is that God is sovereign. When we focus on ourselves we get lost in the noise of the world around us. When we focus on God we can clearly see the hurts of others and recognize that we have the power to do something about it. The truth of the matter is that everyone in the world is hurting the same, just the circumstances that we have before mask it differently. Some have physical obstacles that are easy to see while others have internal obstacles that can stay buried forever. In the end the same thing heals them both, the radical love of Jesus dying on the cross.

So I will leave my boys, and my wife, and America in pursuit of taking my eyes off of my life and personal desires and instead focus on the cross and all that Jesus has to offer a humble sinner like me. My hope for all of those who are joining together on this mission trip is that we can see how important it is and how valuable it is to keep Jesus as the center and let everything else flow from this space.