Worthwhile:March 22, 2019

Well Spring has sprung and March Madness has kicked off. How is your bracket?!

Today I am looking forward to attending the Valued Conference here in San Diego. It is for equipping the church to prevent sexual abuse and help heal where it has happened. Fathom Magazine has a nice piece about the conference and I am hoping to share reflections afterward.

A couple of items this week to enrich you and send you into the weekend. First on church membership (a favorite topic of mine and timely given last week’s sermon on Awkward Community). Then some reasons to desire and seek the spiritual gifts… Word and Spirit all day over here!


The fine folks at Saturate want to equip the church to be the deepest of communities on mission where ever we are. So Nathan Cedarland invites us to see community from a new angle in the first of his posts on church membership.

I think he is tackling some important questions and will be an encouragement to you.

What does it mean to belong to a local church? Some Christians argue that if they are already members of the Universal Church then becoming a member of a local church is unnecessary or even unbiblical. On the flip side, there are some churches which seem to handle membership as an excessively complicated administrative procedure. Are our convictions about the church being a family on mission compatible with official church membership? Does our heavy emphasis on relationship make a formal membership process unnecessary or even counterproductive to the organic Spirit-led community we seek? Is there another angle on this that we’re missing? And why does it matter?


Next up is a post on Desiring God from five years ago that is as timely as ever. Bryan DeWire compiles 10 Reasons to Desire All the Spiritual Gifts. I found this helpful as I am preparing to preach on the gifts this Sunday and we want to be a church that zealously desires the gifts.

Mostly because its biblical, and because we on the road to maturity and mission we need the power of the Spirit. Check for yourself.


That’s it. Have a wonderful weekend and may you see Jesus as you seek him today and always!

Taking the Seatbelt Off

It is always encouraging to hear Matt Chandler share how his church is pressing into the gifts of the Spirit, and clinging to the Word of God. There is much from The Village Church, their intentionality as elders, and the testimonies they have, that all of us can glean from.

Here Matt sits down with the guys form The Remnant Radio to talk about it all. It is a good hour-long conversation of his thinking and story of pursuing the gifts of the Spirit.

Be encouraged.

Worthwhile: March 15, 2019

Terrible news out of New Zealand last night and this morning. Gunmen killed 49 people and wounded dozens more as they had Friday prayers in Mosques there. It is sickening and white supremacy has no place in the hearts of those claiming Christ. Two tweets in response that sum it up well. From Daniel Balcombe and Russell Moore.


Elsewhere, as Jared C. Wilson’s newest book, The Gospel-Driven Church, released this week the usual self-sanctification tropes have been trotting out. In response to one typical misuse of Scripture Jared penned a piece asking if Hebrews 6 teaches us to move beyond the gospel.

It is worth a read and some significant thought over. I am convinced that is you read Hebrews 6 wrong you miss the whole point of the book of Hebrews. So give it some time, its worthwhile.

I can’t wait to get my hands on this book by the way.


And to close the week why don’t we talk money! Dave Ramsey, the money and anti-debt guru who made it rich dolling out advice to mostly white evangelicals was taken to task, on social media anyway, for a tweet that said essentially, “if you want to be rich, do rich people stuff. If you want to be poor do poor people stuff.”

We get it, mostly.

It was a bad week to tell people to do rich people stuff. But beside that, what about the punchline or platitude approach to life? Is it helpful? As a Christian?

Matt Poppe on Christ and Pop Culture thinks it through for us and there are some helpful nuggets here.

All of us could say a version of what Ramsey said in a way most people would agree with. If your bad habits got you into financial ruin, those bad habits won’t get you out.

The problem is, even with the best of intentions, Ramsey’s sentiments about wealth disparity is an a oversimplification bordering on cruelty. When someone spends years responding to life’s complications with platitudes and proverbs, they tend to think of these teachings as absolutes over time. Particularly when someone has climbed from a state of poverty to one of financial wellness, it’s simple to tell the narrative of the struggles and personal achievement that got us to where we are. By extension, it’s easy to render judgment on those who didn’t do the same.

Money is serious stuff and we don’t like to talk about it. As I am learning as I preach through a series called Awkward. The most engaged people have been is over what I will say when I get to generosity. So this article helps us think more about it.

I have often told people I am not a fan of Ramsey because his philosophy is more Randian (objectivism – which essentially means selfish) than Christian. But this is not the time to rehash that!


That’s it for this week. Have a wonderful weekend. Tell people you love them and pray for New Zealand, pray for all of us.

Worthwhile March 8, 2019

Don’t you just love how Friday can sneak up on you! Well here we are, another week and another opportunity to be encouraged, challenged, or educated by something worthwhile.

Plagiarism, Calvinistic church planting, and a song, in that order.


First off is another take on the Rachel Hollis phenomenon. The social media star and author has a second book, “Girl Stop Apologizing,” making its way around and lots of women are checking it out. There is an itching ear lure to it, you are the dream holder, go get it. But it is quite another gospel as Jen Oshman clearly shows.

So the general message found on the pages is dangerous and not the Christian gospel. But it might also not be genuinely Hollis’. Katelyn Beaty has a piece on Christianity Today that outlines the ways in which this latest book is rife with plagiarism.

Not only is the self-worshiping tome bad theology, it is stolen philosophy at best. Be warned!


What’s the big deal about church planting?

Recently I have found myself in conversations that questioned church planting as a key missional instrument. To be honest I was a bit taken aback that people would see church planting as a detraction from evangelism in the least reached places of the world. Surely no one could be out of step with statistical benefits of church planting when it comes to conversion, and the importance of indigenous churches, I thought to myself.

Then I wondered if perhaps it is the theological environment – like the old accusation that Calvinists don’t evangelize. To the rescue comes Jeff Medders.

Author of Humble Calvinism, Medders makes a point of the relationship between church planting and cherishing the doctrines of grace.

“Calvinism is meant for more than theological headiness; it’s meant for mission… God’s sovereignty in salvation maximizes our mission. When we know that God is the only unstoppable and unfailing force in the universe—and that we are on mission with him—then our hearts and eyes widen for the lost. Far from hamstringing our efforts and endurance, the doctrines of grace energize us and remind us why we plant churches: because God saves sinners.”

https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/calvinism-church-planting-old-friends/

Medders goes on to tie TULIP to planting as well as pointing out a couple of great catalysts of church planting, who happened to be Calvinists. And it is worthwhile for those wondering… read it here.


Finally, this week was one full of meetings with other pastors. It was encouraging and at one session the group worshiped together in song. While singing with these men we were all stirred by the truth conveyed in He Is Worthy.

While the style of call and response is new to some, it is a historical way of liturgy in the church and man does it declare Scripture well here.


Have a great weekend. Go to church. Hang with friends. Have an adventure!