Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The Power Team is Coming to Boone!!

The Power Team is an exciting group of really big tough guys who travel the country and do school assemblies, big conferences and the like. I saw these guys in the 6th grade and a I thought they were amazing!! They are coming to Boone, IA in 3 weeks!! I encourage you to go to one of their evening services at 7PM at the Cornerstone Church 111 6th Street, Boone, IA 50036 (any night Feb. 21-24). Check them out at utube and their own site www.thepowerteam.com. They are also performing at a number of schools in the area.
Here's their school schedule for Boone:
Wednesday Feb. 21 @ Franklin and the Middle School and Thursday Feb. 22 @ Boone High School

Celebration of Love 2007

We are excited to announce the date of our fourth annual Celebration of Love Banquet. This event is sponsored by those who participate in the student ministries of First Evangelical Free Church. Our students prepare, serve, and host this special banquet in order to provide a refreshing and delightful evening for the entire church family. Whether you are single, married, young or seasoned, this event will be a blessing for you and our whole church body. We encourage you to sign up today!!

The evening includes:

*A delicious meal and program that includes worship, guest speakers, musical talent and fun activities.

*Childcare for infants through the 3rd grade. The childcare will be in the Fellowship Hall and the kids will partake of pizza, games, and other activities. 4-6th graders are encouraged to join their families downstairs for the dinner.

*An opportunity to support the summer trips of the Sanctuary Student Ministries at First Free: our mission’s trip to Wanblee, SD, our ministry team retreat, and our junior high summer trip.

We look forward to serving you!

TO REGISTER:

Fill out the bottom part of our church bulletin tear off and put it in offering plate. Please include the names of all adults and students attending the dinner. Please include the names and ages of kids needing childcare. You can also sign up by calling the church office, 432-7690.

dating/engaged/marriage advice - from a blogging pastor

This is a good read for any relationship -

http://newcovenantliving.blogspot.com/2007/01/advice-for-engaged-couples.html


This is from Pastor Jack Brooks of Georgetown, KY.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Statistics gone wild

Check out this article by Christian Smith on Christianity Today's website:

http://www.christianitytoday.com/bc/2007/001/5.11.html

I received the very piece of propaganda described in this article, and I was angered and frustrated by it. What ever happened to the gates of hell not prevailing against Christ's church?

Monday, January 29, 2007

quote of the day - Scot McKnight

I'm a little blog happy today . . . this is what I do when I take a day off to recover from a junior high retreat :)

"A Christian is someone whose identity is being transformed because of relationship with Jesus. I think Jesus, Paul, John, are all saying this very thing: the one who is a Christian is the one whose very being and identity are shaped by Jesus." - Scot McKnight

Read this in context: http://www.jesuscreed.org/?p=1977

Also on McKnight's website, I thought this was an interesting recommended article - "A Swedish response to John Macarthur’s critique of the emerging movement."

2007 EFCA Midwinter Webcasts - listen/download

You can download and listen to the main session speakers here:

http://www.talkshoe.com/talkshoe/web/talkCast.jsp?masterId=13569

Each are about 60 minutes, but stimulating stuff.

it's good to chuckle

UNANSWERED PRAYER?
The preacher's 5 year-old daughter noticed that her father always paused and bowed his head, for a moment, before starting his sermon. One day, she asked him why.
Well, Honey," he began, proud that his daughter was so observant of his messages, "I'm asking the Lord to help me preach a good sermon."
"How come He doesn't do it?" she asked.

SCARY article on sexual misconduct among ministers

I encourage you to read this article. http://www.abpnews.com/1640.article

Before you go there, take some time and pray for these things:

1. For those who have been sexual abused by a minister or priest.
2. For congregations who have had to deal with a horrible situation in relation to their pastor's misconduct.
3. For congregations and pastors that Satan would not continue to find victory over the lives of so many in this area of sexual sin.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

EFCA Midwinter Theological Discussion Review

The event was Wednesday January 24-Friday 26. Here's my day by day review. I'm simply going to just throw up on paper so read with caution.

Wednesday (24th) - On this day they gave each of the 4 presenters 1 hour to present the theology and hermeneutics of their position on the millennium.

Dr. Johnson from Dallas Theological Seminary presented a concise presentation of the dispensational position. One of the strongest themes of dispensationalism is the faithfulness of God to ethnic Israel. Since dispensationalists rely strongly on the "plain sense reading" of biblical texts, they believe all the Old Testament prophecies of land, blessing, and reign for Isreal MUST be fulfilled literally in the plain sense of the Old Testament context. God will fulfill these promises not b/c of Israel's obedience, but to demonstrate God's continued covenant faithfulness to His chosen people. Therefore, the 1,000 year reign of Christ at His Second Coming is the most logical place for these OT promises to be fulfilled. The other scholars got 5 minutes each to respond to Johnson's presentation. Bock concurred mostly, but also believe God can commit more than His promises, but never less. Therefore, the blessings to Israel can go beyond Israel. Moo reminded us that the New Testament never altars Scripture, but only interprets the OT. Beal argued against a millennium in the future, believing instead that the millennium has already been inaugurated and that the OT promises such as land, blessing, etc., will find their ulitmately fulfillmnet in the New Heavens and Earth and thus a future 1,000 earthly reign of Christ is unnecessary.

Bock's presentation informed us that progressive dispensationalism is not a term to slight classic dispensationalism. Progressive dispensationalism is a "continuity and progress in the movement of dispensations from one to the next" as revealed through progressive revelation. Bock and Johnson were very close to one another in their hermeneutic and theology. Moo and Beal were also walk similar theological lines. Bock stressed that the NT complements and completes the OT, but we never lose the the OT. Bock believes the OT's consistency in its promises to Israel fuel a need for their fulfillment in the future. Revelation 20 gives God 1,000 years for Christ to reign and bring blessing to ethnic Israel and the rest of the world. Beal's comments were the most poignant. He basically wanted to make it clear that someone who believes in Premillennialism should be called a 2-stepper, whereas an amillennial adherent is a 1-stepper in regards to the return of Christ and full redemption of the earth.

Doug Moo presented the historical premillennial position. (FYI - in the ordination paper for the Evangelical Free Church of America, I took this position. My view is different than Moo's, but similar) Moo opened with talking about 2 key ways of addressing hermeneutics. The first being the "natural" sense. This is the typical way of studying a passage seeking the authors' (human and divine) intent in its historical context. The other is called the "canonical" sense. In this sense we study texts in Scripture recognizing the Bible hinges together and only makes sense in its entirety. From this hermeneutic, Moo stressed that the New Testament deepens, extends, and transforms OT texts. Unlike Dr. Johnson, Moo believes OT promises make sense only in light of NT revelation. Thus, the "plain sense" may not be so easy to find in light of the NT fulfillment. He gave multiple examples in Scripture where the NT brought fuller meaning to OT ideas. One key OT idea is the people of God. In the NT, Moo stressed that the people of God were not longer only Israel. But rather, all those in Christ become true Israel (ethnic Jews and gentiles.) This does not neglect the OT promises to Israel, but reveals that in Christ these promises are given a deeper, fuller meaning to include all who believe in Christ. (See Romans 11:17-24 to see the olive tree illustration the Apostle Paul gives to understand the fuller senses of the people of God.)

The highlight of the week was our chance to listen to Dr. Greg Beal of Wheaton. Highlight b/c he was the only speaker who would not be currently allowed to be ordained in the EFCA because of his theological positions. Beal calls himself an inaugurated millennilist. He does not like to be called an amillennialist. He believes the resurrection of Jesus Christ inaugurated the "last days", bound Satan, and now Christ reigns on the throne. He made a big push to read the entire book of Revelation symbolically according to his interpretation of Revelation 1:1. He also believes that Jesus Christ represents Israel in his life, death and resurrection. Thus, those in Christ have all the (OT) promises that related to Israel. Beal denies that a future 1,000 reign of Christ on earth is to come. He believes Christ next stop on earth will be to end the war of all wars, usher in the new heavens/earth, and bring time as we know it to the end. One of the biggest differences I found in Beal is his choice of hermeneutical keys. Where dispensationalists use ethnic Israel and the plain sense promies of the OT as their key, Beal uses Christ as Israel as his key. This resembles replacement theology, but Beal said it did not. Much of Beal's theology reminded me of NT Wright's book, "The Climax of the Covenant."

Thursday (25) - On Thursday E-Free pastors had a chance to do some Q&A with the presenters. From some antagonistic comments it seemed apparent that most were not persuaded by Dr. Beal. Yet, I personally heard from a handful of people that lean toward Dr. Beal's position. We also heard from Mike Andrus. He basically shared this article he wrote (pg 5-6).

Friday (26) - ON Friday morning pastors were able to ask questions to president Bill Hamel and the spiritual heritage committee.


Good times :)

Thursday, January 25, 2007

EFCA - Midwinter Theological Discussion - Ministerial

I have had the privilege of joining nearly 400 pastors of the Evangelical Free Church of America to worship, theological discussion and prayer. It's been in Colt's country, Indianapolis, IN. Go Colts!! :)

The conference has been about "Inerrancy, Hermeneutics and Eschatology." Since 1950, the EFCA has been a premillennial denomination, that is they believe the 2nd Coming of Jesus Christ will include a literal 1,000 year reign of Jesus Christ on the throne of David where a myriad of promises found in the Old Testament for Israel will be fulfilled. There are different streams of premillennialism and we had 3 professors share from 3 particular view points: Elliott Johnson (dispensationalism), Darrell Bock (progressive dispensationalism), and Doug Moo (historic premillennialism.) Also, at the conference we had a gentleman, Greg Beal, from Wheaton College who expresses belief in something he calls "inaugurated millennialism" which is a strand of amillillennialism. Since that currently is not considered an acceptable belief in the EFCA, not many listeners concurred with Beal's assessment of Scripture, but he was a sharp guy.

It's been a good event. maybe I'll blog more in the future.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

FYI -- Baby on Board -- Baby Cometh!!

For those of you who haven't heard, my beautiful wife Carrie is carrying a baby that is due August 22nd. We'd take all the prayers you've got. We lost a baby last March to miscarriage so there's a lot of emotions each day of this pregnancy: joy, fear, hope, etc.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Today's quote - BB Warfield

"There is no mistake more terrible than to suppose that activity in Christian work can take the place of depth of Christian affections." BB Warfield

Thursday, January 18, 2007

More B.B. Warfield

"If there is no fire in the pulpit it falls to you to kindle it in the pews." BB Warfield, 1911

I agree preaching must come with fire, and here are a few suggestions on where the fire can be kindled:

1. Letting the Word of God burn in the heart of the preacher before bringing it to the people.
2. Praying for oneself and the listeners, that the Spirit of God would use the living Word to cut to the heart.
3. Authenticity before God and man.
4. Humility - don't think we can add anything to the Word, just preach the text!
5. But the context of this quote is referring to theological people who complain about the preaching they hear or those who neglect corporate worship. Those people who think the pulpit lacks luster or depth should prayerfully enter the sanctuary preparing their hearts for God's power. Often times, the preacher is not at fault in bringing forth God's Word, but the people do not come expecting the Lord to speak.

Currently Reading Dr. Benjamin B. Warfield

I purchased a $1.50 sermon by the great Princeton Seminary professor B.B. Warfield from Christianbook.com.

It's called "The Religious Life of Theological Students" and I believe every pastor, professor and teacher of God's Word should read this sermon. I found an abridged version online. You can read it by clicking here.

Prepare to have your backside spanked!! (for those who haven't heard John Piper offered an apology for using the word a-- instead of the word "backside" at Passion '07.)

Here's a small, but good part of Warfield's thoughts:

"Say what you will, do what you will, the ministry is a 'learned profession'; and the man without learning, no matter with what other gifts he may be endowed, is unfit for its duties. But learning, though indispensable, is not the most indispensable thing for a minister. 'Apt to teach' -- yes, the minister must be 'apt to teach'; and observe that what I say -- or rather what Paul says -- is 'apt to teach.' Not apt merely to exhort, to beseech, to appeal, to entreat; not even merely, to testify, to bear witness; but to teach. And teaching implies knowledge: he who teaches must know. Paul, in other words, requires of you, as we are perhaps learning not very felicitously to phrase it, 'instructional,' not merely 'inspirational,' service.

But aptness to teach alone does not make a minister; nor is it his primary qualification. It is only one of a long list of requirements which Paul lays down as necessary to meet in him who aspires to this high office. And all the rest concern, not his intellectual, but his spiritual fitness. A minister must be learned, on pain of being utterly incompetent for his work. but before and above being learned a minister must be godly. Nothing could be more fatal, however, than to set these two things over against one another."

What can you say but: "Sovereign God, give us grace equal to the task!"

Which Theologian are You?

From a pal's blog, I had to do this:


You scored as Karl Barth. The daddy of 20th Century theology.
You perceive liberal theology to be a disaster
and so you insist that the revelation of Christ,
not human experience, should be the starting point for all theology.

Karl Barth


100%

John Calvin


87%

Anselm


87%

Martin Luther


80%

Jonathan Edwards


67%

J├╝rgen Moltmann


53%

Friedrich Schleiermacher


53%

Augustine


33%

Charles Finney


27%

Paul Tillich


0%

Which theologian are you?
created with QuizFarm.com

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

the John Owen bandwagon rider

Like many evangelicals in the country, I am reading some John Owen. I spent about 3 hours last night combing through his book "Mortification of Sin." I found a free copy of the book online and am reading it from my pdf viewer. I am taking some notes as well. It's good stuff even though it's a bit hard to read.

Here's one very amazing quote:

(4.) A sin is not mortified when it is only diverted. Simon Magus for a season left his sorceries; but his covetousness and ambition, that set him on work, remained still, and would have been acting another way. Therefore Peter tells him, “I perceive thou art in the gall of bitterness;” — “Notwithstanding the profession thou hast made, notwithstanding thy relinquishment of thy sorceries, thy lust is as powerful as ever in thee; the same lust, only the streams of it are diverted. It now exerts and puts forth itself another way, but it is the old gall of bitterness still.” A man may be sensible of a lust, set himself against the eruptions of it, take care that it shall not break forth as it has done, but in the meantime suffer the same corrupted habit to vent itself some other way; as he who heals and skins a running sore thinks himself cured, but in the meantime his flesh festereth by the corruption of the same humour, and breaks out in another place. And this diversion, with the alterations that attend it, often befalls men on accounts wholly foreign unto grace: change of the course of life that a man was in, of relations, interests, designs, may effect it; yea, the very alterations in men’s constitutions, occasioned by a natural progress in the course of their lives, may produce such changes as these. Men in age do not usually persist in the pursuit of youthful lusts, although they have never mortified any one of them. And the same is the case of bartering of lusts, and leaving to serve one that a man may serve another. He that changes pride for worldliness, sensuality for Pharisaism, vanity in himself to the contempt of others, let him not think that he hath mortifiedthe sin that he seems to have left. He hath changed his master, but is a servant still. (pages 18-19)

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

God's House

Matthew 21:12-13

12 Jesus entered the temple area and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. 13 "It is written," he said to them, "'My house will be called a house of prayer,' but you are making it a 'den of robbers.'" NIV

Tonight in our youth ministry we are going to pray. Hopefully, I will stay committed for years of ministry to make sure God's house remains a place for prayer. God's house is where He dwells. He dwells with individual believers. He dwells when Christians gather . . . aka the church (not the building.)

May we be a people of prayer.