Posts

Showing posts from July, 2008

Review of "Simple Church"

Image
Simply stated, Simple Church (B&H, 2006, 252 pages) is the millennial version of Rick Warren’s 1995 Purpose Driven Church . Another way to describe Simple Church is that it is Purpose Driven Church with really good research. Substituting Warren’s “purpose” for the more kinetic term “process” Rainer and Geiger seek to prove the thesis that catchphrases and slogans are not enough for church growth. Churches must actually facilitate a linear path that will move a person into a deeper level of commitment and service. Be a church that has made a “great commitment to the great commission.” Use a very cool alliteration to describe yourself – but find a way to implement your vision and allow those words to actually shape congregational life. Citing examples from the Google homepage to the iMac the authors demonstrate that “simple is in.” The effectiveness of the program driven church of the 50’s-80’s era has been replaced by the vibrancy and growth of churches that are able to keep i

Some Baseline Thoughts on Prayer

It is basic to the human condition to cry for help. We are born dependant. From the initial moments of infancy we begin to feel need – to breathe, to eat, to be held, to be protected, to be loved. We are powerless. As we mature our laundry list of needs mount, ever more complicated and increasingly burdensome. The very act of our birth initiates us into need. We are observers. We observe the panorama of life and intrinsically know that there are so many things that were not supposed to be like this. We know things need to change for all of us, in all of us. But change is far too great an assignment for any of us. Moment by moment we are confronted with dependence. As dependant creatures prayer is a baseline need. One would be hard pressed to find a human who has not cried out to a higher power in some way and at some time in their life. At the very least we all desire for something higher than we, the dependant, to change the current moment. Heal me. Help me. Love me.

The Year of Living Biblically

Image
Instead of simply offering a laundry list of books I enjoyed from time to time I thought I would try to add to my blogging experiment some review on the books I read. Hopefully this will not only offer a preview before you throw down your next twenty dollars at the bookstore, but will help me better digest content. So for my first attempt at public book review I offer you A.J. Jacobs’ bestseller The Year of Living Biblically, One Man’s Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible . (Simon & Schuster, 2007, 332 pages) A.J. Jacobs is the editor at large of Esquire magazine. He is agnostic, a true New Yorker, extremely secular, and Jewish “in the same way the Olive Garden is an Italian restaurant.” The Year of Living Biblically chronicles his participatory journey into fundamentalist Biblical literalism by trying to live every commandment, principle, jot and tittle of Scripture as closely as possible. From stoning adulterers in Central Park to being faced with administer

Daily on the Verge of Sacrifice

I am not sure what God is saying to me in all of this but it seems like I am getting a lot of news from the mission field this week, and it all relates to the incredible dangers our missionaries face. At the very least the message is clear that the people of God need to ramp up our prayer effort for those serving around the world. Here is a copy of an email I received from a missionary team from our church, Alan and Sandy Stone who are serving in Peru. You can really hear Alan’s heart in this: ___________________ Brother Brian, Pastor It has been a tough weekend and beginning to this week. Last Saturday around 2 pm one of our student summer missionaries was in a combi wreck 19 hours by truck from Lima. He suffered severe head trauma and died in route to the little clinic there. He was on our research team with two young ladies who were slightly injured. He had just graduated from Ole Miss with an engineering degree, and was a wonderful young man and a very strong Christian and witn

Perspective

I received an email today directing me to one of our missionary’s blogs. If you read through the older posts you can see that they are obviously serving in a very dangerous place and have recently suffered the tragic loss of the husband/father. Reading things like this help me keep perspective on what the gospel and living for Christ is really all about. I found the most recent post “Compelled to Write” deeply meaningful. compelled to write Nights have been a good time for me after A is in bed to read, think, talk with people, e-mail and read letters and journals from P. It's been a good time for me to be with people and grieve and cry and all that good stuff. So in reading his journal I ran across this entry. I am glad we talked about these things. He was good at putting things into words, but really good at making it into simple phrases, easy to memorize and follow. I hope this helps many of you who are also grieving as it has helped me.May 14, 2006"Esther and I talke