Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Steven Curtis Chapman

Steven Curtis Chapman has blessed people all over the world through his gift of music. He is a man of integrity, compassion, and deep faith.
After losing a daughter to a tragic accident, he and his family continued to embrace Jesus as the giver and sustainer of life.
This award was not about pity. It is about honoring a true artist.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Back in Business

After traveling on and off for 3 weeks, I hope to have a little "normality" this week. We won't be leaving Memphis again for a few months.
We had a blast in Dallas this past week with my family. We get together one week a year...usually in the summer...and this year we just hung out at my parent's place.

On the "to-do-list" this week:
1) Sermon prep
2) Writing a study guide for Josh Graves' book Jesus Feast.
3) At least 8 appointments with certain people or couples.
4) Build a swing set for Truitt.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Jesus' Words on Family

Mark 10:29-31
“Truly I tell you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields, for my sake and for the sake of the good news, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this age—houses, brothers and sisters, mothers and children, and fields, with persecution—and in the age to come eternal life.”

There are two lists here.
The first list includes what some of the disciples had left behind:

The second list consists of what the disciples will receive "now" in this age as rewards:
-Mothers (notice the plural)

The 2nd list one addition and one omission.
The addition is "persecution." Who wants that?
The omission in the 2nd list is "father." Is this an intentional move by Jesus?

Could it be that in an age when fathers were seen as the centerpiece of the family, Jesus suggests that God becomes the Father overall? If so, the role of the dad is to usher their children into God’s family.

Jesus isn't destroying family structures.
He is promoting a larger family of the community of believers.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Learning How to Fight

We have not been taught how to fight well. There IS such thing as healthy conflict.
Too often when we find ourselves in disagreements we immediately enter into defense mode. We don't listen well, because we're too busy formulating our next argument. We enter into fear-mode and our mouths and hearts don't line up.

What are we afraid of? That the other person won't come to see things the way we do? Or that maybe the "thing" we are arguing for with such passion might actually be wrong?

We can be right about a certain subject or belief, but in the moment of conflict we can become wrong because we fail to allow the character of God to manifest itself in us.


Acts 15 is a pivotal chapter in the NT. The church has come together to discuss the issue of the day--must one be circumcised to be saved.

Some of the Jewish Christians had made this into a heaven/hell issue.

Acts 15 is a chapter that teaches Christ-followers how to enter into healthy disagreement. Persuasive doctrine doesn't drive the chapter. Instead, persuasive testimony drives the chapter. This is a story about the church catching up to the mission of God. God has proven that he is working among the Gentiles (outsiders) and now the church is needing to catch up to God.

The resolution given in the chapter (15:19-21) is all about relationships. Three of the four "rules" that come from the meeting are about table fellowship. The table becomes the place of unity, relationship, and Spirit-filled community.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

"Lord, Teach Us to Pray"

In Luke 11, the disciples make a request, "Lord, teach us to pray."
Think about this--the disciples have been Jesus for a while now. They have seen him heal, teach, drive out demons, raise the dead, calm storms, and they have witnessed him taking part in night-long prayer vigils. These disciples were Jews, which meant that they had been taught spiritual disciplines since their youth. They knew about prayer. Yet, here they are making a request to learn one of the basic principles of faith.
Jesus uses this as a teachable moment. He gives them a new way to pray.

If we ever cease to make this request, our spirituality will plateau...it will become stagnant. We never graduate to the level of, "Lord, I've learned how to pray."


Truitt is at a praying stage. We are trying to pray with him throughout the day--not just before meals and bedtime. We don't want him to equate prayer as the warm-up exercise for chicken strips or as the official sign that it is bedtime. The former can easily become a prayer with little meaning and the latter can become a miserable prayer because it means that fun is over. (Don't misunderstand me--prayers before meals and bedtime can be formative).

This morning, Truitt woke up at 8:30 and we brought him into our bed to play for a few minutes. Before we got up to eat breakfast, I said, "Truitt, let's pray over mommy." Together, we placed our left hands on Kayci's belly and our right hands on Kayci's head and together we prayed a prayer for God's blessing and mercy upon our new son and Truitt's new brother. We prayed for God's hand to upon them both. It was a priceless moment!

Friday, June 5, 2009

An Interesting Metaphor for the Church

Evangelist Luis Palau captured the nature of the church in an earthly metaphor. The church, he said, is like manure. Pile it together and it stinks up the neighborhood; spread it out and it enriches the world.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Ongoing Conversion

Words from Scot McKnight:
Conversion is more like a driver’s license than a birth certificate. The difference between the two is dramatic. A birth certificate proves that we were born on a specific date at a given location. A driver’s license is that: a license to drive, permission to operate. If conversion is likened to a birth certificate, we produce babies who need to be pushed around in strollers. If it is like a driver’s license, we produce adults who can operate on life’s pathways.”

In his book The Jesus Creed, McKnight asks this question, when was Peter converted?
1) John 1 when Andrew brings him to Jesus and Jesus tells him that one day he will be named "Rock."
2) Luke 5--after the miraculous catch of fish, Peter falls down at Jesus' feet and says, "Get away from me. I'm a sinner." And Jesus responds by saying, "Do not be afraid. For now on you will be catching people."
3) Luke 9--Jesus asks, "Who do people say I am?" The consensus was: a prophet, John the Baptist, and Elijah. Then Jesus makes the question a little more personal, "Who do you say I am?" Peter responds with the great confession, "You are the Messiah of God."
4) Story of Resurrection--Peter witnesses the death, burial, and the resurrection.
5) Acts 2--after waiting in Jerusalem for the promise of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit comes in power.
6) Acts 10--this story is just as much about Peter's conversion as it is about the conversion of Cornelius. Not that Peter is being converted to Jesus, but to the mission of Jesus. Both of these men need to be changed for the good news to spread.

My answer to the question is "YES!"

We have a life full of conversions as God continues to pry scales from our eyes to show us His glory and His world in new ways. Life is constantly giving us "Ah-hah" moments.

Paul puts it this way in Philippians 2:12, "Work out your salvation..."

May God convert us again.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Jay Leno

Jay Leno ended a great run at late night television this past weekend. The two parts of his show I will miss the most are:

1) Monday Night Headlines

2) Phone Booth Pranks