Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Against Music

'Worship' and 'music' are often used interchangeably in churches today, which is a sign of a huge problem.

Against Music

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

"Looking for God" by Nancy Ortberg

Over lunch, I've been reading "Looking for God" by Nancy Ortberg. She was on staff at Willowcreek, working closely with Axis. I heard about her and this book on the Catalyst podcast several months ago. My wife has already read the book, and I am just over half way through. With everything that is going on in my life, this book is right on target for me. Check out the podcast to hear from Nancy, and then pick up the book.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Servant Evangelism

Christianity Today has a great article about a recent evangelistic festival in Portland that driven by a Season of Service. Service gives Christians the ‘political currency’ to address issues of faith. Palau’s point about not losing focus on the Gospel is important, as well.

Servant Evangelism

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Metropolis of Worship

"Like other 'worship leaders,' I walk a fine line of terminology when describing the area of ministry where I serve. Worship. Musical worship. Worship-through-music."

Paul Glavic's article on Neue

Friday, September 26, 2008

Catalyst Lunch & Learn

I spent some time Tuesday with the folks down at Catalyst.

Check it out here.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Are You a Racist?

With the current election in full swing, I thought it would be good to pull out a Bible study I did on racism a few years ago. I hope this is beneficial.

Are You a Racist?

Part 1

Adapted from: http://www.keyway.ca/htm2000/20000506.htm

Let me start by saying what my motivation for teaching this is. My job as a Bible teacher is to teach what the Bible says. Often, this can fly in the face of our culture and upbringing. Racism is one of those areas. Even with parents that taught me that racism was wrong, I still have to fight the racist tendencies in myself. I can only imagine the struggle for a young Christian whose upbringing has taught them that racism is OK. Some would even use the Bible to teach this. This is a gross misuse and misunderstanding of Scripture!

Also, I am not advocating the political correctness of today's so-called civil rights leaders. If the dream of MLK, Jr. was for people not to be judged by their skin color, then why do 'civil rights leaders' support things like Affirmative Action that determine a person's value primarily based on skin color? Racism is a two way street. But since my audience for this was primarily white, I taught it from that perspective. Let the backlash begin!

If someone saw your myspace page, would they think you were a racist?

Do you use the 'n-word', Rebel flag, other hurtful language and images (not political correctness!)

Do you do other things that make you look or sound better than people of other races?

Do you do things at school, home, work, or other places that make you look racist?

Are you 'afraid' of certain types of people? Do you simply avoid certain types of people and the places where YOU will be the minority? Do you actually think that you are better, smarter, or more spiritual than others because of their races?

What is a 'race', anyway?

  1. country of origin (all of us have mixtures of different origins)
  2. genetics (scientist say race is cultural, not genetic)
  3. skin color (we're all shades of brown)
  4. cultural (this is the true difference between us, but even it is fading)

What does God say about races and racism?

Genesis 1:26-27
Whoever you are, wherever you are, you are a descendant of Adam and Eve, who were created by God, in God's Own image. Humans, all humans, are God's children.

John 4:4-26

When Jesus Christ, as a Jew, taught the Samaritan woman, He didn't care that she was a Samaritan, or a woman, since The Messiah, as the Son of God, was neither a racist, or a male chauvinist. The Lord taught the woman because she was one of God's children.

Acts 8:26-39

When Philip, as a Christian, baptized the man from Ethiopia, he didn't care that the man's skin was black, because Philip, as a true servant of God, was not a racist. He baptized the man because the man was one of God's children.

Anyone who thinks that Christianity, or The Bible is about favoritism or superiority, or in any way justifies hatred toward other people, should carefully consider these Scriptures:

  • Galatians 3:28-29
  • Acts 10:34-35
  • 1 John 2:9-11
  • James 2:8-9

If the early Christians (converted Jews) had been racist, then you and I would have never heard about Jesus. We are not Jews!

Interracial Marriage:
In several OT passages, God tell His people not to marry people of other races. Some today would say that this means that we should not marry people of difference races.

What do you think?

What are God's criteria for who we should marry? 2 Corinthians 6:14

Ruth (Ruth 1:3; Matt. 1:5 line of Jesus)
She's got an entire book in the Bible about her, AND she is one of Jesus' ancestors! Do you think God cares that she isn't a Jew? This also means that Jesus was not 100% a Jew. He also has a former prostitute in His ancestry (Rahab)! Oh, the scandal!

Next week, we'll look at another case of interracial marriage. God got mad, but not for the reason you would think…

Are You a Racist?

Part 2

Adapted from: http://www.soulcare.org/Creation/racism_bible_study.htm

I. Aren't We All Brothers? (Acts 17:26)

"and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation,"

A. Biological: Grandfather Adam (Gen 1-4) - Grandfather Noah (Gen 6-11)
B. Spiritual: If we all come from Adam & Noah, then how do we figure out who IS our brother? (1 Sam 16:7)

"But the Lord said to Samuel, "Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."

C. Separation: Tower of Babel (Genesis 11)

II. God Won't Tolerate Racism

A. God Says: "You like white, try this!" (Num 12:1-16)
1. Why was Miriam mad about Moses' Ethiopian wife? (Num 12:1)
2. What color skin disease did God give Miriam as punishment? (Num 12:10)
3. What was her only hope for healing? (Num 12:13)

B. Remember the Jews hated the half-breed Samaritans (Luke 10:25-37)

1. Why is the Samaritan in Jesus' story called "good"?
2. Who are the neighbors that Jesus expects you to serve?
3. Does Jesus give a command or a suggestion in verse 37?

III. Spiritual Brothers By Grace

A. What is the cause of division? Race or sin? (Jam 4:1)

"What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members?"

B. What is the payment for sin? (Rom 3:23; 6:23)

"for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God"

"For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."

C. How did Jesus pay the price for our peace with His Father? (1 Cor 6:20a) "For you have been bought with a price"

D. Are you a part of the Father's Family? (John 17:20-22)

"I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as You, father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me. The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one just as We are one"

E. Our hope for peace is not a thing but a person. Who?

"For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


Christians running a video game site? Sounds strange, right? Well, it's not, at least to us. Becoming a Christian doesn't mean you hang up the controller. In fact, it can be a way to reach a largely unreached culture of people.

Check out the site and let me know what you think.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

I Hate It When My Worship Leader...

There's a great discussion going on at Ragamuffin Soul about things worship leaders do that get on our nerves. As a recovering worship leader, it's pretty interesting.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Waves of Culture

Sunday night, I had a great discussion with Danny and Doug from Logos. I have attended a couple of gatherings with Logos over the past few months and wanted to learn more about the journey to start Logos. I won't go into all the details, but I will tell you that this is not your typical church.
Logos is a church based in the Little Five Points neighborhood of Atlanta. They have no building, no full-time staff, and no slate of programs to speak of. In a lot of ways, they resemble a house church, meeting in homes, restaurants, and coffee houses. Oh yeah, they are sponsored by the local SBC association. No, I haven't drifted away or fallen off the deep end. Yet.
In the gatherings I attended, the small group was made up of people working in the Atlanta arts community, college students, a young college professor, someone raised on the foreign mission field, others from a wide variety of backgrounds, almost all 20-something's. Almost all were single. Most fit right into the culture of L5P, and I felt right at home. Some of these folks would stick out like a sore thumb at most of the churches I've attended in my life, but here they are not out of place.
Sunday night, we talked about how culture shifts around the world. From the major metro centers to other major cities, then to the smaller cities and suburbs. While we understand this with things like music, fashion, and entertainment, I had never fully thought about how it applies to church. To simplify it, you can travel to places like London (or even New York) to see what is going to be happening in Atlanta in a few years. These waves of changing culture flow from these major centers to the small towns of America. The waves slow down as they move out of densely populated areas, but technology is bringing the waves faster and farther.
Logos may be a bit ahead of the wave here in Atlanta, but not by much.
I'll write more about Logos as I get to know this church better, but I thought I'd go ahead and share this first glimpse now.

Monday, June 23, 2008

The Anti-Building Project

I came across this from the Catalyst website. Here's the short version: a big church is California is packed out. Instead of building a bigger (expensive) building, they are building a park and amphitheater for worship services. This is based on an overall change in how they are 'doing' church. Take a look at the project and the video that shares their heart for doing church biblically.
Cornerstone Church-Tierra Rejada Building Project

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Planting Churches in the Real World

I just started reading this book today. So far, it's on point. If you want a full review, visit my friend Micah's blog.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Sweet Melissa

No, this isn't a blog post about an old girlfriend...

Last Friday night, we had dinner with some friends at one of our favorite local places, Twisted Oak. We were upstairs with the singer/guitar player. After freaking me out with his vocal harmonies (he was the only singer), I realized that he was using a voice box to add harmonies and effects. But that's not the point of this post.

He was playing the expected mix of folk, country, rock ballads, etc. when he started singing the worship song "I Could Sing of Your Love Forever". Initially, I appreciated him including a worship song in his set list, even if it is an ambiguous one like this one. Then the ambiguity reared it's ugly head. He made it into a medley with the Allman Brothers Band classic "Melissa"! At first, I thought it was just a transition that I missed, but then he recapped into "I Could Sing..." making the medley complete. It was horrible.

As I thought about it, it brought to mind a question that I have asked before: why do we worship women and sing sappy love songs to Jesus?

Monday, May 12, 2008

Church Planters can be wrong, too

Things They Tell Church Planters That Are Simply Wrong

I've read and listened too a lot of stuff related to church planting. I have also been a part of a couple of church plants. I thought it was weird that I really disagreed with some of what was stated or implied about the church planting process. It's nice to hear from an experienced planter that I might not have been too far off.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Consuming Church

Consuming Church by Margaret Manning

"If Jesus himself were here today preaching the gospel, how might we evaluate the packaging?"

In a personality profile I did about a year ago, the administrator said I should avoid retail. I'm not a salesman, I know that. I don't even like most salesmen I meet. My skin scrawls. Maybe that is why I find it hard to fit in to that thing we call 'ministry'. If my job as a minister is to 'sell Jesus', no wonder I'm no good at it. I hate selling things, even stuff I like.

Jesus didn't sell Himself, so why should I? Jesus gave Himself... I can do that.

Monday, March 24, 2008

New Type of Preacher

"If Christianity is to receive a rejuvenation it must be by other means than any now being used. If the church in the second half of [the twentieth] century is to recover from the injuries she suffered in the first half, there must appear a new type of preacher. The proper, ruler-of-the-synagogue type will never do. Neither will the priestly type of man who carries out his duties, takes his pay and asks no questions, nor the smooth-talking pastoral type who knows how to make the Christian religion acceptable to everyone. All these have been tried and found wanting. Another kind of religious leader must arise among us. He must be of the old prophet type, a man who has seen visions of God and has heard a voice from the Throne. When he comes (and I pray God there will not be one but many) he will stand in flat contradiction to everything our smirking, smooth civilization holds dear. He will contradict, denounce and protest in the name of God and will earn the hatred and opposition of a large segment of Christendom."
-A.W. Tozer, Twentieth-Century American Minister and Author

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Draft a Pastor

Have you ever heard the saying that no one who wants to be president should be allowed to run? Some say that presidents should be drafted, because the people that would do a good job at it are smart enough not to do it.

Maybe the same should be said for ministers...