Friday, July 31, 2009

Maybe Tonight???

Will the real baby Caleb please show up . . .

The contractions are coming . . . will they keep going . . . no one knows!

Friday, July 24, 2009

"Is the Gay Marriage Debate Over" - an article by Mark Galli

Read the whole article: http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2009/july/34.30.html

Some of his closing words:
This does not mean we should stop fighting initiatives that would legalize gay marriage. Gay marriage is simply a bad idea, whether one is religious or not. But it's bad not only because of what it will do to the social fabric, but because of what it signals has already happened to our social fabric. We are a culture of radical individualists, and gay marriage does nothing but put an exclamation point on that fact. We should fight it, because it will only make a bad situation worse.
That being said, we are as compromised as the next gay couple when it comes to radical individualism. This means that alongside our call to maintain traditional marriage, we should "bewail our manifold sins and wickedness," as the Book of Common Prayer puts it. We should acknowledge how much Protestant culture has shaped American culture, how much we've collaborated in the flowering of individualism, and how we continue to do so even when the flower has become a weed that is choking off life.


Bob Tebow (Tim Tebow's father) - Quote of the Day

The 2007 Heisman Trophy winner's dad humorously remarked these words in a recent "Sports Illustrated" article:

"I asked God for a preacher, and he gave me a quarterback."


Click here to read the whole article!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Better sermons require deeper thought and more powerful ideas

Haddon Robinson writes, "What people do live for, what they do die for, is an idea, some great truth that has gripped them."

Be encouraged and instructed by this article on better preaching: http://www.preachingtodaysermons.com/betterbigideas.html



Does anyone know the origin of Haddon's name? Who would name their kid "Haddon" after Spurgeon's famed history without a deep desire for them to become an excellent preacher?

Monday, July 20, 2009

Evangelism 2.0: In both word AND deed

Read a recent article posted on usatoday.com about what God and His Church are up to in Portland, Oregon:

http://blogs.usatoday.com/oped/2009/07/evangelism-20-.html

My favorite section:

As observed by the widely respected religion scholar Rodney Stark and others, history teaches that the church is often at its vibrant best in competitive, pluralistic environments, where it has to be at the top of its game. The age-old dynamic appears to be playing out today in Portland, and in a way that might be consoling to those troubled by signs of evangelicals losing the upper hand in American culture and politics. If this region is any sign, the evangelical church may be losing temporal power but winning something more important: its soul.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Leadership Journal (2 Good Reads)

Today in class I was assigned an article by John Ortberg called, "Your Hidden Curriculum." Also, last spring I read an article by Gordon MacDonald called, "The Leaf Raking Doctrine." Both articles are powerful. Ortberg's article helps me realize that I am teaching things whether I am speaking or not. The loudest vehicle I have for Jesus is my life (not my tongue).

Click here to read Ortberg's article: http://www.christianitytoday.com/le/thepastor/pastorsrole/hiddencurriculum.html


MacDonald reminds us that being in the spotlight is addictive and deadly. Sometimes we overly enjoy the applause and fawning of admirers, and as such we fail to realize that the people who love us most will never (and shouldn't unless your Jesus) be that impressed with us. They know the good, the bad, and the ugly. As such, they have a sober understanding of us . . . and yet they still love us. Who are we living for?? The crowd who only sees us at our best? Or those who know our worst and love us yet?

Click here to read MacDonald's article:
http://www.christianitytoday.com/le/thepastor/pastorsrole/leafrakingdoctrine.html

Morality is not enough . . .

God has been convicting me lately. I look back on my life and realize I have spent too much time trying to clean up my life. AND I've spent too much time trying to clean up the lives of the people of whom I have tried to minister. This is Christless moralism. This is cross-less, human-centered perfectionism. Instead of pointing to the cross of Jesus Christ for hope, I have unintentionally allowed people to trust in their own power and their own strength.

Today, I confess that I am a powerless sinner, in need of grace, help, and hope. Only Jesus can save me. Only Jesus can empower me for a life of growing holiness. Jesus saves people . . . He cleans people up. Jesus is not some add-on to my otherwise mostly good life . . . because without Him I have nothing!

Here are a few of the resources God has used to remind me of the amazing grace of Jesus Christ:

Mark Galli quoting Michael Horton:

Coming to the cross means repentance—not adding Jesus as a supporting character for an otherwise decent script but throwing away the script in order to be written into God's drama. It is death and resurrection, not coaching and makeovers. Read the whole article here: http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2009/julyweb-only/128-41.0.html

A good message from Matt Chandler for all of us (especially if you are a preacher, click and listen to this 4 minute clip):



For greater insights into preaching the Gospel instead of moralism, listen to Lessons 22-25 of Bryan Chapell's "Christ-Centered Preaching" lectures from Covenant Seminary. You have to create an account, but it costs nothing and is well worth your time. http://worldwide-classroom.com/courses/info/cm099/

Thinking through our pornified world

The pornography industry continues to grow in American and across the world. How do we keep the damaging effects of pornography from affecting our lives and the lives of our family?

Here are two recent articles on porn and how we might respond to its presence:

http://takeyourvitaminz.blogspot.com/2009/07/how-do-we-raise-kids-in-pornified.html

http://blog.beliefnet.com/crunchycon/2009/07/the-problem-of-pornography.html#preview

Thursday, July 16, 2009

My good-looking family


Here's a pic of my brother (Heeth) and his girlfriend (Sharon) sporting their fancy bikes and duds.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

An Anglian Bishop on ordaining homosexuals:

Bishop Tom Wright writes: (check out the whole article by clicking here)
The appeal to justice as a way of cutting the ethical knot in favour of including active homosexuals in Christian ministry simply begs the question. Nobody has a right to be ordained: it is always a gift of sheer and unmerited grace. The appeal also seriously misrepresents the notion of justice itself, not just in the Christian tradition of Augustine, Aquinas and others, but in the wider philosophical discussion from Aristotle to John Rawls. Justice never means “treating everybody the same way”, but “treating people appropriately”, which involves making distinctions between different people and situations. Justice has never meant “the right to give active expression to any and every sexual desire”.
Such a novel usage would also raise the further question of identity. It is a very recent innovation to consider sexual preferences as a marker of “identity” parallel to, say, being male or female, English or African, rich or poor. Within the “gay community” much postmodern reflection has turned away from “identity” as a modernist fiction. We simply “construct” ourselves from day to day.
We must insist, too, on the distinction between inclination and desire on the one hand and activity on the other — a distinction regularly obscured by references to “homosexual clergy” and so on. We all have all kinds of deep-rooted inclinations and desires. The question is, what shall we do with them? One of the great Prayer Book collects asks God that we may “love the thing which thou commandest, and desire that which thou dost promise”. That is always tough, for all of us. Much easier to ask God to command what we already love, and promise what we already desire. But much less like the challenge of the Gospel.

Monday, July 13, 2009

"Lessons from the Wilderness" - Sermons from the Book of Numbers

I just completed a 3-part sermon series for a church in the Denver area. This church recently lost their pastor and are in a transition period. As such, I felt it would be appropriate to preach sermons from the book of Numbers. Numbers records the journey of the Israelites after their freedom from 400 years of Egyptian slavery. They leave Egypt and begin moving through the desert/wilderness toward God's Promised Land. In fact, the title in the Hebrew Bible is ba-midbar which in translation means, "in the wilderness/desert." We have really enjoyed serving this special church family. They have loved me and my family, and we have loved them. We pray God's blessings on them today.

A wilderness is a place of despair, confusion, and doubt. This is true of literal wildernesses, but also of the figurative wildernesses. We all go through dry times as we wait for God to lead us out. But I firmly believe that God sends us through wildernesses to take us to places we would never have gotten without first going through the wilderness.

Here are the 3 recent sermons I gave dealing with issues related to wandering wilderness moments. They will only be available for a short time so if you are interested in listening to them, download them sooner than later (and if someone could teach me how to make these files smaller, that would be great - sorry they are such large files). To save, right click and then click save link/target as . . . and then save them somewhere you can find them.

Sermon #1 - "Numbers 11: Is Complaining a Problem?"

Sermon #2 - "Numbers 12: The Difficult Dance of Leading and Following"

Sermon #3 - "Numbers 13-14: Getting Where You're Supposed to Go"

I've noticed many preachers have swung by to download these messages so I thought I would add my manuscripts. These are sloppy at best, and forgive me for the times I may have not cited an author. Any thing that sounds insightful probably came from someone else and if you notice an important omission, please inform me and I will try and get a proper citation. If you do happen to use my sermon, please make reference to it and leave a comment for me below. If you happen to do a podcast at your church, I'd love to listen to it and learn.

1) Numbers 11 PDF
2) Numbers 12 PDF
3) Numbers 13-14 PDF

Search Amazon.com for Commentaries on Numbers

Saturday, July 11, 2009

On why feeding the hungry is not enough . . .

My reflections on reading the great Old Testament prophets (specifically from my reading of Jer. 7 today):

When Israel turned away from God and then became a nation of ruthless and indulgent people who ignored the poor and destitute, God did not send a philanthropist to inspire others to feed the poor. Rather, he sent prophets to proclaim God's justice upon the wicked and to offer grace to all who would respond in faith. There would be no outward change without an inward transformation; this transformation cannot be done without God's redeeming love and power.

The solution to poverty is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The solution to weak marriages and failed relationships is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The solution to wicked and evil people (like me!) is the gospel of Jesus Christ. O, that we would be people who believe in the gospel, preach the Gospel, and then by God's power alone, live the Gospel.

I pray this to be true today in my life and in the life of my friends, my family, and my fellow students and professors at Denver Seminary.

John Calvin (his 500th birthday was yesterday) on discipleship

"The gospel is not a doctrine of the tongue, but of life. It cannot be grasped by reason and memory only, but it is fully understood when it possesses the whole soul, and penetrates to the inner recesses of the heart. Let nominal Christians cease from insulting God by boasting themselves to be what they are not, and let them show themselves disciples not unworthy of Christ, their Master. We must assign first place to the knowledge of our religion, for that is the beginning of salvation. But our religion will be unprofitable, it if does not change our heart, pervade our manners, and transform us into new creatures."

-John Calvin in his Golden Booklet of the True Christian LIfe

Thursday, July 09, 2009

For what does your soul long? (quote of the day)

"He loves Thee (God!) too little, who loves anything together with Thee, which he loves not for Thy sake." -St. Augustine's passionate plea for us to never think God's gifts are the goal of our life. God is our goal; He is the sweet, triumphal, and perfect Person. He alone provides total rest and joy. All other pursuits are sin and idolatry. Thank you Jesus dying and resurrecting that I might have life in God.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Baby Update -

Baby Proctor is set to arrive "on time." Carrie is measuring exactly as she should, and Lord willing, baby will pop out after July 24th (that's when my summer class ends). Mommy and baby are healthy.

For those who have asked, we are registered for a few things at Baby's R Us and Target.

Thanks for your prayers!! We feel so blessed to have such wonderful friends and family.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Help the Preacher (maybe a new series/label category)

For all those wise preachers (and not-so wise preachers, like me), what wisdom can you share on preaching 2 long chapters of narrative in one sermon? I am preaching Numbers 13-14 this week and I want to be careful to keep people focused throughout a large chunk of Biblical text.