Showing posts from February, 2008

I Am Jack Johnson - A conversation about sin

If I were not a pastor I would be Jack Johnson. That also assumes that I could play the guitar, sing, surf, and be very cool. I cannot play the guitar, sing, or surf – but I am very cool to my daughters. To them I am Jack Johnson – at least in the car with the audio turned way up. So here is the point. On Sunday I am preaching a message entitled, “What is Wrong with Us?” It is a sermon that looks at Jesus’ statement from the cross “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.” It is not difficult for us to look at the world in which we live and see that something is not right. Richard John Neuhaus in his book, Death on a Friday Afternoon says it is like a kid standing in the kitchen after he has broken the cookie jar, he is not sure what to do, but he knows something has gone horribly wrong. Chuck Colson writes, “Someone has quipped that the doctrine of original sin is the only philosophy empirically validated by thirty-five centuries of recorded human history.” [1] The five mo

Audio: Connecting, Building Contagious Community

Is it really that complicated to go to church? Romans 12:9-21 is wordy and almost overwhelming, but at the same time it sounds very positive. A place full of people that authentically practiced these principles, a place like that sounds not only positive, but contagious. Spiritual community begins with people who make an autonomous choice to detach from the corrupting principles of the world and join together for the purpose of practicing the gospel. Legislated, such a place would be shallow and hypocritical at best. Tragically, churches have become some the most dishonest examples of community. So how does a church, a group of people become a spiritual community that displays authentic love for God, for one another, for the gospel, and for the people of the world? Listen to audio of “Connecting, Building Contagious Community.”

Tasting Poison: Romans 3 and the Academy Awards

On Monday morning I read Romans 3. On Sunday evening I caught the last hour of the Academy Awards. The last hour of the Academy Awards is the hour in which the same five or so films are nominated for pretty much everything - films that are celebrated as the year's best stories. I have seen none of these films (Juno, No Country for Old Men, There Will be Blood, Michael Clayton, Atonement, Once) but following their celebration I was curious to see them, the movies of the year. I read their reviews, noticed their ratings, investigated their plots. Now I know I will not see them, I crave a greater story. Within that context I spent part of the morning reflecting on the meaning of Romans 3 and its relationship to our culture. ___________________ The viper does not taste his poison. Death resides in his mouth. His throat is a grave. He swallows all things whole. Everything the Asp swallows is intentionally laced with his poison. Can we taste our poison? On Sunday Hollywood handed out

Audio: Deepening

In the Wii world, change is easy. On Nintendo’s Wii you create a Mii within a virtual world that gives you “pick and choose” options that helps you create the virtual version of you. If you are balding in the real world, in the Mii world an afro is only a click away! But change on our planet is not that easy. In 2 Peter 1, Peter gives us a list of virtues that we need to add to our faith, but how? The key to a growing faith, the key to connecting with God is spiritual discipline. If you want to change it is about deepening – becoming connected to God’s promises and God’s power through spiritual discipline. Listen to audio of “Deepening.”

Audio: Maturing

Ever felt like church can be a childish exercise of religion, a game people play until someone gets hurt? What does it take for the community of faith to facilitate true systemic spiritual growth in people who live actual (that is: stressful, challenging, hectic, normal like yours and mine, sometimes heartbreaking) lives? The church needs to become less mechanical and more organic in its approach to spiritual growth; it needs to scrap programmed models for personal mentoring. This sermon is a part of a series about the future of Ridgecrest Baptist Church and how it as a community of faith will function to help people not only know more about Christ, but also experience Him as they grow and become more like Him. Listen to audio of “Maturing.”

Some Books You Might Want to Read (2)

Here is another list of books you might want to invest in. I try to read a book a week. Seminary makes this a difficult discipline, but I try. When I am really busy I read one of those cardboard books in my daughter’s room. If I feel really motivated I will read two. Elmo can be very philosophical, especially his biography about potty training. So outside of some cardboard Elmo, here is your next trip to the bookstore: The Jesus Way – Eugene Peterson (Highly Recommend) The Contemporaries Meet the Classics on Prayer – Leonard Allen The Path of Celtic Prayer – Calvin Miller Uprising – Erwin McManus The Gospel According to Jesus – John McArthur Culture Shift – Al Mohler Back to Jerusalem – Paul Hattaway There is a God – Anthony Flew (This one is a headache waiting to happen, but a must read!) The Art of Personal Evangelism – Will McRaney Unlearning Church – Michael Slaughter I Am Legend - Richard Matheson (If you read Calvin Miller’s Unfinished Soul he writes a parable entitled

Audio: Interpretations of Jesus by the Church

The modern American church has done much to tarnish the image of Christ. Whether it be hypocrisy, moral failings, the multitude of denominations, or torturously boring worship services the church has interpreted Christ as a stale religious icon, powerless to touch or change the human soul. But God has chosen to use the church to tell the world about Jesus. So, why church? The church is to be a community of actual people who apply the gospel to their actual lives. The church is not a pretend forest of perfect plastic people, but a community of faith that is far less domesticated, far less sophisticated, and far messier than is often portrayed. The church is to be a petree dish in which the gospel is applied to people who are challenged by the pressures of life, marriage, finances, and faith. It is a place where the grace of God is to be experienced and the goodness of God is to be savored. The church needs to reinvest itself in building authentic relationships and engaging in a communit