Saturday, May 22, 2010

Are You Contemporvant?

Thought you might enjoy this humorous critique. Better yet, read Bob Kauflin's thoughtful post on it here.

"Sunday's Coming" Movie Trailer from North Point Media on Vimeo.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Want to Be a More Radical Christian? A Review of "Radical" by David Platt

I just went through David Platt's book, "Radical" in one wonderful sitting. I had first heard young Dr. Platt at the Together for the Gospel Conference back in April, 2010. I was very encouraged and challenged by his message, An Unadjusted Gospel in an Unreached World: Connecting Gospel Theology with Urgent Missiology This great book was more of the same. I hope I am able to similarly lead King of Grace Church in living radically for Christ and his gospel.

Rather than having me produce another review, take some time at Discerning Reader to read this review of "Radical" excerpted below:

Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream
Reviewed 04/28/2010 by John Bird.
Recommended. A clarion call to live radically for Jesus Christ. But if you read it, will you?
David Platt has a burden—a burden to see believers in America acting like New Testament Christians. But for the most part, he says we're not. Instead, we are pursuing the "American dream" rather than Jesus. Jesus told his disciples not to lay up treasures on earth. They were to take up their crosses. They were to live for others. They were to be willing to die for others. But we live for ourselves. We live for security, for comfort, for ease, for entertainment, and for retirement.
With the best of intentions, we have actually turned away from Jesus. We have in many areas blindly and unknowingly embraced values and ideas that are common in our culture but are antithetical to the gospel he taught.
And, according to Platt, it's not just individual Christians embracing flawed values. Churches in America spend billions of dollars to build extravagant kingdoms and then praise themselves for sending a few thousand dollars to missions, while millions around the world are starving to death without ever hearing the gospel. Platt calls this lack of concern for the poor a "blind spot" in American Christianity. And it's a blind spot that should concern us: "If our lives do not reflect radical compassion for the poor, there is reason to wonder if Christ is really in us at all."....
In the end, Platt challenges readers to the one-year "Radical Experiment." This experiment involves five components meant to "radically alter the remainder of your life." My excitement built as I drew nearer to the final chapter. I imagined being called to martyrdom. I was nervous. "Can I do this? What will it cost? What will my wife say?" But when I got there, it was anticlimactic. Platt doesn't ask me to die, or even to sell my house. What he does ask is easier, something I can actually do. But the question remains: "Will I?" And as I consider the challenge, I realize that, in this selfish culture, it is radical. Indeed, to live as Christ calls His disciples to live is, in any culture, radical.
Get it for yourself and become 'Radical'.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Christian Hedonism Applied

Came across an excellent post by Douglas Wilson on the need to pursue our satisfaction in God across a comprehensive spectrum of life. Check out these excerpts:
The first thing to note is that John Piper has done the Church a valuable service in establishing the inescapability of hedonism in the well-tempered service of God. The point is hard for many Christians to swallow, but it is equally hard to avoid. On this subject, I would refer anyone with questions about it to the basic Piper corpus.
But once we have jackhammered up the foundation of dour stoicism, and/or anemic pietism, and have poured the foundations of what it means to seek our true pleasure, we still have the need to build on that foundation. Here are a couple blueprint sketches of some areas that still need work.....
By the nature of the case, we cannot present an exhaustive list, but the ramifications would include beer, mowing the lawn, sex with your wife or husband, brown gravy, sitting on the front porch, listening to a good poem, making movies, getting out the guitar, going to church, and getting a foot rub. There are two sacraments, true, but there is only one sacramental. The world is a sacramental, and everything in it. Grace is everywhere, and gets into everything. Faith can dig it out of anything. The grandeur of God can flame out from anything, like shining from shook foil.
You can read the whole article here. And, you can get John Piper's books here.

Have You Encountered Secularism?

Have you encountered secularism? It is a growing, if not dominant, religious viewpoint in the west and affects all of our lives. Sadly, there are many fallacies that go along with it and we need to be careful to detect them and defeat them.

For starters, check out Hunter Baker's interview with Sarah Harland-Logan at Harvard Political Review. The article by Harland-Logan did not fully represent the original interview. Here are some excerpts:
-What exactly is secularism about?  Why have so many people turned to this idea/ideology in the last few decades?
Secularism is about removing religion/consideration of God from public life.  The desire to do so does not have to be invidious.  Those who embrace secularism, including many Christians, often do so because they believe it is a good answer to the problem of religious difference among people in a political community.  They think that if they can remove differences among people, especially religious differences, our community will grow stronger.  At the same time, secularists tend to see religion as something human beings once needed, but no longer do.  They think religion is irrational and extraneous to the things that really matter in life.
On the other hand, some types of secularists are less well intentioned in their efforts to remove religious faith from public life.  Secular totalitarians (such as Hitler, Stalin, Mao, and others) have the desire to marginalize religious belief and institutions because they are potential roadblocks to enforcing the will of the state.  They would prefer there be no intermediary institutions between the state and the individual.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Have You Heard of Haverhill Massachusetts - Yahoo Ranked It Among the Top 7 Cities...

I love Haverhill...

So does Yahoo. Haverhill was ranked among the top 7 cities for good real estate deals in nice places. On the list: Pheonix, Orlando, New Orleans, Houston, Atlanta, Philadelphia and Haverhill!

Read the whole article here.

HT: Jim Fiorentini

Friday, May 07, 2010

Funny Signs - Chinglish
Some believe that China should embrace the fanciful melding of English and Chinese as the hallmark of a dynamic, living language.
HT: Kendra

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Wondering About Church Planting in Sovereign Grace Ministries?

Dave Harvey has started a series of posts on church planting in Sovereign Grace Ministries. In classic Dave Harvey style he communciated some of the thinking on church planting in SGM. Here are some excerpts.

It can be awkward, but only sometimes. It happens in certain conversations with other church-planting guys whenever the topic turns to vision for the future. Usually it goes something like this.
Church-planting guy (not me): So how many churches would you Sovereign Grace guys like to plant over the next ten years?
Me: Mumble, mumble, mumble… (sounds of me stuffing chips in my mouth to avoid answering)
Church-planting guy: We’re believing God for thousands of churches planted over the next few months. We’re calling it maniacal multiplication. So how many churches do you guys have right now?
Me (having no more chips to protect me): About 80, or maybe it’s 90—I forget exactly.
CPG: Wow, that’s great. How long have you guys been planting?
Me: Since “We Are the World” came out.
CPG: Wow, that’s incredible.
Me: The first one.
CPG (doing math in his head): Oh…I’ll pray for you dude.
End of conversation. Awkward.
Let me say something at the outset here. First of all, I am so grateful that there are church-planting groups who love the Savior and love the lost so much that they are willing to take the risks and send men so that many gospel-preaching churches can be planted quickly. That’s bigtime faith! And make no mistake, it’s being hurled at a bigtime need. I have no doubt God will bless those efforts. But as much as I’d like to see Sovereign Grace churches so widely and thickly planted that you couldn’t spit from a freeway without hitting one, that isn’t what God is calling us to. At least for now.

When it came to church planting, what mattered to us was that real, solid, gospel-loving, local churches would bloom. Churches that had shared values, relational connection with each other, and common purpose. We didn’t want to plant churches and walk away from them, or have them walk away from us. We call ourselves a family of churches because that’s what we’ve been. We wanted to build slow and plant slow because we wanted every church to apply the gospel and be a healthy contributor to the mission of church planting for years to come. We’ve made tons of mistakes along the way, but that’s what we’ve tried to do.

I highly recommend you read the first installment and stay tuned.

Do You Know the "New Atheists"?

Justin Taylor has a post, entitled, 'What’s Right and What’s Wrong About the New Atheism?,' where he mentions what looks like a great book on the "New Atheists" - a group that will most likely grow in influence in our culture.

Take a few minutes to read his post here.