Saturday, December 29, 2007

Gambling Pastor Given Second Chance

The Des Moines Register details the fall, restoration, and new opportunity for a young Iowa pastor. This pastor actually pastored the United Methodist Church in which I was raised. I had joined the Evangelical Free Church before his arrival to Indianola, but I grew up attending this church. I was confirmed and participated in this church from age 9-17. I'm interested in your thoughts . . .


And then please comment:
1) Was the Indianola church in the right to remove him from leadership?
2) Was the United Methodist denomination in the right for removing his credentials?
3) Was the Disciples of Christ Church wise in ordaining him for ministry?
4) Is this small Ankeny church going to be blessed being led by someone with these past (?) struggles?
5) Should pastors gamble at all? Casinos? March Madness pick-ums? Poker nights with friends?

Remind me to share my thoughts in a week or so.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

The Great Roll-Over!

Samuel's first time to roll over was December 20th. By now he's an old pro. Today we got a good video of it and wanted to share it with all our friends and family. He's a little bit of a show-off!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

An Interview with N.T. Wright

Good interview recently done by the Wittenburg Door with the Biblical scholar N.T. Wright.

I love the title: "Heavy Theological Dude Mistakenly Talks to Us"

Here is the best quote in the article. Wright is talking about the dangers of evil, and then makes these pithy remarks, "But justice without forgiveness is revenge. And forgiveness without justice is appeasement." I'm personally trying to understand the proper "christian" view of justice, war, etc., and this was a very interesting remark to assist in helping me form a better worldview.

Another recent Wright interview was conducted while he was lecturing at Asbury Seminary:

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Baking Christmas Cookies - 2007

Let the Christmas traditions begin!!

Huckabee keeps things interesting

I'm still not sure where my vote will go come November '08 . . . but I've been enjoying the uniqueness of Governor Huckabee.

Click here to see an interesting blog article.

Also a few other interesting reads:

"Huckabee is a body of work" from the Denver Post

On the issues from his own website

My favorite quote from him so far: "I think I've probably been asked far more questions about my faith than Mitt Romney's been asked about his. . . Maybe I ought to be doing the 'God speech' out there. I might even include an alter call and an offering with mine."

Sunday, December 16, 2007

a little break . . . and what does that mean? SAMUEL!!

Samuel is growing, and he loves Christmas. He also likes the University of Tennessee and the sleeper Aunt Jessica bought him!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Ah . . . a little break and a little book

I finsihed my first semester of seminary work yesterday 12/14. I took my Greek Exegesis final (from my class with NT scholar Bill Klein) at 7:15AM yesterday; it was killer! All in all it was a good semester for developing skills in my Greek New Testament.

Similarly, my Gospel and Acts class (taught by Craig Blomberg) was enjoyable (though his final on Thursday was also quite challenging). In class and in his book, Blomberg does a nice job interpreting the Biblical text without any outside systematic theology (Calvinism, Ariminianism, Dispensationalism, etc.) determining the final outcomes. He does have a strong Baptist-bent, but this used to be a Baptist seminary so one shouldn't be surprised.

My remaining classes were a class on Teaching and Learning, an introduction to biblical interpretation, and a 1-credit class on spritual formation. It's been a rich blessing to be at Denver Seminary these last four months. I have met good friends, and I have been blessed by gifted intructors.

To celebrate, I read (that is by my own choosing!!) a small book called, "A Little Exercise for Young Theologians," by Helmut Thielecke. This book came from a lecture he gave to young theologians over 40 years ago in the thick of German theological education. He makes a number of key points. First, a first year theology student is like a first year choral student at a music conservatory. The gifted singer goes off to the conservatory to become a more mature performer. In that first year, the new exercises,acquired skills and knowledge seem to have a negative effect. The singer may not "sound" as gifted as when they begun, but it is only because the training is not complete. Similarly, a young theolgian is pushed intellectually and unfortunately, we young theolgians understand far more than what we are actually practicing in our own lives.

Thielecke puts this succinctly, "There is a hiatus between the arena of the young theologian's own spiritual growth and what he already knows intellectuarlly about this arena."

Likewise, a geologist knows rocks well. They study all the intricacies, perform experiments, and memorize scienific theories. But until they climb a mountain and smell the beautiful air, they knowledge is severly stunted. Young theologians (like geologists) must experience the world and the church before they can ever think their intellect on theological matters has substance.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Miracles among us . . . Joe Keller

The Des Moines Register had a recent article depicting God at work. This story is about two friends of mine Joe and Justin Keller who graduated a year behind me from Indianola High School. These are men of faith. Many of you have followed this story and know this is just one of dozens of miracles God has done through Joe's life over the last 12 months. Keep praying for Joe and Jaime (his wife) and the whole family. Keep believing in the God who makes the impossible possible!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Gunman posted plan online . . .

See also:

From these writings, we can see he had seriously been hurt in his past. His response was tragic.

Christians die in Colorado

When someone chooses to follow Jesus Christ, they have understood the foolishness of going their own way. We begin to understand that when we pray in the Lord's prayer, "Thy kingdom come," that also means that we are saying our kingdoms must go. Also, when we experience true salvation in Christ, we die. We die to our old way of life. We die to our sin. We mystically share in the death of Jesus Christ that we might cling to the hope of our future resurrection. This is Christianity; this is our calling. We become "dead men (and women) walking." We are crucified ones . . . yet, we also live a new life through the power of Christ.

4 Christ-followers lost their lives in Colorado this past Saturday evening and Sunday morning at the hands of the same gunman. (

We mourn their loss. We mourn with their families. But for those who have died to their old lives and shared in Christ's crucifixion, God's word promises that they are in his presence at death.

O Lord, may their deaths lead others to you. O Lord be close to their families. Also Lord, be close to the family of the gunman. They must be asking very hard questions right now, but we ask for your grace in their lives. I pray also for the security guard who took the gunman's life. Help her to appropriately deal with her own issues as well.

How might we respond personally?

People come to Jesus for a myriad of reasons: to receive forgiveness of sins, to experience life, to heal a broken heart, to follow a the only true God, to respond accurately to the truth claims of Jesus Christ, etc. etc. The end result is always the same: our old lives must go and we begin to receive true life, new, rich and eternal life. "For anyone who is in Christ they are a new creation, the old things pass away, new things come" (2 Cor. 5:17).

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Good discussion occuring about Intelligent Design

I've joined in a conversation on the denial of tenure of a professor from my alma mater Iowa State University. If you are behind on this matter, you can catch up by looking at a fellow Denver Seminary student's blog (also an Iowa State graduate) here:

We've also been having a mini dialog on one of our professor's blogs here:

Feel free to join in the conversation.

More info:
Intelligent Design Was the Issue After All
Background to the Guillermo Gonzalez Story
Q & A about the Guillermo Gonzalez Story
Biosketch of Dr. Gonzalez
List of Dr. Gonzalez's Refereed Science Publications
Statement of Dr. Gonzalez on Academic Persecution From 2005
List of Publications
Key facts and timeline

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

The run down . . .

Tonight: the small group that I attend via Ambassador Church is having a Christmas party.

I have finished all the major assignments for this semester and am gearing up for finals.

Next week: 3 major finals (Monday in my "Teaching and Learning" class, Thursday in my "Gospels and Acts" class, and Friday in my "Greek Exegesis" class on the book of Romans)

Dec. 14-Jan. 14 - I get some time away from Denver Seminary (we'll be back in IA Jan. 5-12), and I will pick up some extra hours at my T-Mobile job the others weeks we're in Colorado.

Jan. 14-25 - 2 week winter intercession course

Jan 28 - Spring semester starts