Monday, March 30, 2009

Salvation by Chicken Wings and Napping

Last week, ABC's Nightline aired a debate on the existence of Satan - and all the things that go along with that. Arguing for the Biblical position of the existence of the devil were Mark Driscoll (pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle) and Annie Lobert (former prostitute and founder of Hookers for Jesus - not what it sounds like).

Arguing against the existence of Satan were Deepak Chopra (New-Age author of many popular books who dresses like a classic James Bond villain) and Bishop Carlton Pearson (former evangelical demon-caster-outer).

Here's a short YouTube clip:

One of the best lines came when Mark Driscoll said (as only Driscoll can say) that if people would have made up a religion and voted on it, they would have come up with something like a "salvation by eating chicken wings and napping". At least he said that is what he would have voted for.

You can watch the entire debate by clicking here. Scroll down and click on the video labeled "Driscoll Slams Pearson's Religious History" to see a great exchange.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Diversity: Is It Really All That Great?

Okay, that title was intentionally inflamatory - but still an honest question. For the record, I'm not talking about racial diversity, or physical diversity of any kind. I'm talking about a spiritual and philosophical diversity that threatens our relationship with God. Hear me out.

Here's the article that sparked the thought: Parents Sue Florida School District Over Religious-Themed Song.

Apparently, some parents were outraged that their children were being taught an overtly religious song in a public school. The song - "In God We Still Trust" by Diamond Rio - contains the following lyrics:

"You place your hand on His Bible/When you swear to tell the truth/ His name is on our greatest monuments/And all our money, too/And when we pledge allegiance/There's no doubt where we stand/there's no separation/We're one nation under him."

Now, there are a lot of directions my mind went on this story, but the one I wanted to explore - and get your thoughts on - was the idea that we can't publicly teach our children songs about the Christian God of the Bible because we might offend the devotees of some other religion (and that includes Atheism, btw).

Even though this country was founded on Christian principles by mostly Bible-believing men, we are taught - in the name of diversity - to honor, respect, and treat as equal other belief systems. We are told over and over again how rich our culture is to have so many varied inputs into our "melting pot". Other cultures have so much to teach us we hear them say. But I can't help thinking (over there in the stubborn, politically-incorrect portion of my brain) that the "melting pot" has become a standing cesspool of diluted truth (how's that for a word picture!).

You know, there's a reason why God warned Israel about fraternizing with diverse cultures and "learning their ways". He knew it would cause them to fall away from Him and eventually bring about their nation's demise . . .

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Bonus Post: The Small God of The Shack

Here's an article by Travis McSherley over at Chuck Colson's BreakPoint site. In it he makes some quick, salient points about the insidious nature of The Shack. Here are a few quick quotes:

"[The God of The Shack] is not God. At least not the God of Scripture. He (or she, in this case) doesn’t speak like God, doesn’t judge like God, and—despite the entire premise of the book—doesn’t love like God. Nearly every aspect of God’s glory and power are distorted and diminished in the “Trinity” of The Shack."

"And as much as God’s majesty and power and authority are diminished, His Word is completely disregarded . . . With the tether to Scripture broken, the book makes plenty of bold, though unsupported, assertions involving God’s sovereignty, man’s free will, forgiveness, submission and relational hierarchy, the purpose of pain, the design of Heaven . . ."

". . . there are a number of truths in The Shack, even valuable ones . . . But these small nuggets of truth are in no way worth taking in the abundance of theological distortion."

You can read the entire article here.

To play off an old Jerry Reed song title: William P. Young got the gold mine; truth got the shaft.

Mark Driscoll on The Shack

Here's the second of two posts on the Christian publishing phenomenon known as The Shack.

This video features Seattle pastor Mark Driscoll debunking the book - which he refers to as heresy. As you'll see, Pastor Mark is one of these up and coming church leaders who is well-grounded in solid Biblical doctrine.

The purpose of this is to really lay out the facts about the book and let Christians decide. Is this a serious misrepresentation of Almighty God, or are we to view it as simply a harmless little allegory that deeply touches our emotions?

The Shaft

Here's the first of two posts on the Christian publishing phenomenon known as The Shack.

A good, Biblically-solid friend of mine was carrying around a copy of the book just recently, and I realized that the deception still continues! Just so there's no confusion about how I feel about the book, here's a cartoon I drew several months ago:

BigDog Robot Being Used in Afghanistan

I love this kind of stuff! Here's a 4-legged robot that looks like a headless canine and uses a gasoline engine that whines like a pack of killer bees - CREEPY!

Here's more from the article:

"Its robot brain, a sophisticated computer, controls locomotion sensors that adapt rapidly to the environment. The entire control system regulates, steers and navigates ground contact. A laser gyroscope keeps BigDog on his metal paws — even when the robot slips, stumbles or is kicked over."

Read more here.

On a related side note: I took the fam to see Knowing this weekend and saw previews for the new Terminator movie . . .

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Town Outraged After Pastor Takes In Child Killer reports:
A pastor in this quiet, picturesque New England town opened his doors to a
convicted child killer who had served his time but had nowhere to go.

You can read the article here.

Is this good Christian charity or just plain irresponsible? Would you want this in your neighborhood? Would you open your home up to someone with this history? WWJD?

Global Warming Research Expedition Called Off Due to Cold Weather

No foolin'! Here's a quote from the article:

Three global warming researchers stranded in the North Pole by cold weather
were holding out hope Wednesday as a fourth plane set off in an attempt deliver
them supplies.

“We’re hungry, the cold is relentless, our sleeping bags are full of ice,”
expedition leader Pen Hadow said in e-mailed statement.

Read the article here.

You can't make this stuff up . . .

Holy Cheetos! People are seeing Jesus everywhere!

Okay, so what are we to do with this?

We could be skeptical: That was about as legit as a Fred Phelps smile.
We could wax sarcastic: Wow! I just saw Jesus in a liberal church! What're the odds? Never seen that before . . .
We could be really spiritual: Yes, but do others see Jesus in yooouuu?

What do you do with this?

American Idol: Over Half the Finalists are Christians (or have strong ties to the church)

This season's American Idol is shaping up to be a gospel music showdown. reports that:

"This season . . . Christians . . . are . . . watching because more than half of this year's crop of finalists — including Danny Gokey, Michael Sarver, Kris Allen, Scott MacIntyre, Matt Giraud and Lil Rounds — either have a strong affiliation with the church or are worship leaders in their communities."

And here's an interesting quote that begins the article:

'[This year's 'Idol'] shows that a Christian singer can have artistic integrity,'

Read the entire article here and come back and respond to these questions:

Understanding that we are called to come out and be separate (2 Corinthians 6:17), is this a case of Christian sellouts trying to come as close as possible to the world (you know, the whole "friendship with the world = enmity with God" truth that James talks about)?
Or are they being providentially elevated to a position of incredible influence because of their faithfulness (like the Old Testament prophet Daniel)?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Ignatius! The future of youth ministry . . . or are we there already?

Many thanks to Todd Rhoades over at the Monday Morning Insight blog for this little gem.

Watch this hilarious mockumentary about a seriously pathetic youth-speaker-wannabe. There arent' really "ministers" like this out there . . . are there?

Ignatius from travis hawkins on Vimeo.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Though We May Be Small . . .

. . . we can accomplish much when we pull together.

Christians and Alcohol: The Age Old Debate Continues's Out of Ur blog has an interesting post that's sure to distill some controversy. Here's a sample:

"Some younger pastors in traditionally teetotalling denominations are beginning to view bans on alcohol use as out of date. Is their so-called liberty in Christ simply an excuse for bad behavior? Or are the old timers adding laws to the gospel?"

Read the rest of the article here, then come back and post your thoughts on this intoxicating subject (sorry about that).

Monday, March 16, 2009

Where's My Bailout? Great post on God, the Church, and the Economy

Perry Noble, senior pastor of NewSpring Church in Anderson, S.C. , serves up some good advice for Christians in these troubled economic times. Listen to this:

"The reason our country's in such bad financial shape is we let our need for greed consume us . . . When the stock market started going down, your god died and you don't see him resurrecting any time soon," Noble noted. "You think the economy has a hold on you when you don't understand that God actually has a hold on the economy."

Strong words; good preaching. Read more here.

Helping Churches Make Difficult Financial Decisions

Pastor Mark Driscoll has offered up 3 Principles to Guide Financial Decision-Making for churches facing a serious budget crunch.

The three principles are:

  • Spending - Spend money on those things that grow the ministry and not simply on those things that make it easier on your staff.

  • Pruning - Without pruning, a ministry is wasting energy, time, resources, and leaders on proverbial branches that are no longer bearing lots of good fruit . . . most—if not all—leaders know what needs to be cut. But they fail to act with courage because they anticipate fallout, people leaving, and hurt feelings. Sometimes God uses hard times to compel his leaders to make the decisions they need to make, and this is one of those times.

  • Core - Don’t make cuts on your core essential ministries but rather on your secondary and auxiliary ministries.

Read the full post here.

John Maxwell Arrested on Weapons Charges. What??!!??

Yeah, you read it right. Leadership guru and Christian speaker John Maxwell was arrested for carrying a weapon hidden in his luggage into an airport. Sounds crazy, but you can read his own words about the incident in his blog by clicking here. It's not as diabolocal as it sounds . . .

Frankly, I think it's refreshing to see a leader taking responsibility for his actions. In the past, we've seen politicians, sports figures, and religious leaders engage in elaborate cover ups - here we have a leader exhibiting the true marks of leadership.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Comparing and Contrasting Christianity and Eastern Religions

The Resurgence website has posted a great little article that uses some classic Walter Martin material to compare and contrast Christianity and Eastern religions. Here's a snippet:

Comparing and contrasting Eastern beliefs with Christianity is an excellent way to see the differences and dangers they present by downplaying the foundational theological elements of the Christian faith.

Read the rest of the article here.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

All Bound-up by Religion?

That's easy to understand. The word religion is connected to the Latin word religare which means to bind fast, or tie up. It later came to mean to place an obligation on. What's that tell ya?

Just remember, Christianity is not a religion - it's a relationship. Binding up is the exact opposite of what God wanted to accomplish through Jesus' sacrificial death and resurrection. Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for burdening the people with religion (Matthew 23:2-4), and referred to his requirements as easy and light.
Matthew 11:30 NIV
(30) . . . my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Most Anti-essential Christian Books

Eugene Cho has posted a list of Christian books we most definitely don't need. They're fictional, of course, but hilarious. Here are a few of my favorites:
  • Everyone Is Going To Hell Except Me - John MacArthur
  • Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid - John Hagee
  • This Book Looks Longer Than It Really Is - Rob Bell
  • God Wants You To Pay For My Airplane - Creflo Dollar
  • 10 Keys To The 8 Steps To The 3 Paths To The 1 Way to God (TM) - Rick Warren
  • How to Smile - Joel Osteen

Read the entire list here.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

breakfast song

There's a part of me that would love to do this song one Sunday morning . . .

John Piper: Testing David Wilkerson's Prophecy

Maybe you've heard about famed preacher David Wilkerson's scary prophecy everybody's been talking about? Has he heard from God? The only way to tell is to test the prophecy against the true standard of the word of God.

Bible teacher John Piper does just that in this post from his blog. In short he says:

What shall we make of this? . . . Two things give me pause . . .

First . . . God might have said this. But it doesn’t smell authentic to me. Too prudential. Too reminiscent of the embarrassing Y2K excesses.

Second, my confidence level drops when the Scriptures are not handled carefully.

But my own effort to be discerning says: Stick with the Bible, David. It is scary enough. And it is absolutely true. And your credibility will never fall.

Good stuff. Read all of Piper's post here.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Christian Sinners?

How do I know if I sin because I'm a bad Christian or a non Christian? Here's a great answer to that age-old qestion.

Pastor Mark Driscoll - pastor of Mars Hill church in Seattle - answers this question as part of a live "Ask Anything" session in which audience members text questions to the pulpit to be answered in real time.

Friday, March 6, 2009

New Financial Order to Emerge out of G20 - CNBC 2/25/09

Is this financial crisis leading to a New World Financial Order? One government. One currency. One man to rule them all