Showing posts from December, 2009

2009 Favorite Books

I must admit this was not a particularly heavy reading year for me. 2009 was a very heavy Hebrew year instead. I maintained my habit of reading about 1 book per week until August; which is the very moment I lost shalom. All in all, I read 23 books this year. Two other factors served to shipwreck my reading; long books and bad books. I tried to intersperse historical reading in 2009, which meant long books. I am not a history lover. Being a novice meant inevitably picking bad books. So here is my ’09 top 10, which may help you get off to a good reading 2010. 1. Rocket Men , Craig Nelson. I reviewed this one . Mr. Nelson actually wrote me back, which was my 2009 blogging highlight. 2. The Blind Side, Evolution of a Game , Michael Lewis . I reviewed the movie which is factually not quite the same as the book, but close. I must confess I am not quite finished with this one, but close enough to call it one of my favorites of this year. 3. What Would Jesus Eat , Dr. Don Colb

What Tiger Has Taught Us

Over the last few weeks we have witnessed in the life of Tiger Woods that, "whatever one sows, that will he also reap (Gal. 6:7)." All things eventually come to fruition. If one desires to have a good name, raise a family, and continue in marriage he must sow the appropriate seed. If one acts in a ways that threaten the bonds of marriage, those bonds will eventually break. Sowing and reaping, it is a natural occurrence in every aspect of life. Tiger was once a media darling. He is now fresh meat. In an image driven culture we will not stop being witnesses to this tragedy until we are bored with it or something better comes along. Until that moment comes, the talking heads will feed us all we want. So while this story is fresh I want to pose a question, "What's the message?" Is the message that our culture is infatuated with the fallen? That is probably true, even more so than my next point, but I think another message in all of this is that in human sexuality

Christmess (Sermon Audio: Sunday A.M.)

There is an incredible message of hope in the incarnation of Jesus Christ. Paul teaches that if we take the time to meditate on the truth of the incarnation that it will change the way we relate to one another and it will change our worship. Listen to sermon

Mega Christmas (Sermon Audio: Sunday A.M.)

Christmas has a way of changing our tune. In late October usually one radio station in town dedicates itself to getting us in the Christmas spirit. Most of us are excited about Christmas music for about a month, but as Christmas Day approaches there are parties, family, gift lists, decorations, traffic, long lines, rude people. By the 25th of December our tune has changed from, “I’m ready for Christmas” to “I’m ready for Christmas to be over.” If you listen to our tune about this time of year we would have to say that our souls are not doing so well. The pressures of life are making our souls come apart at the seams. Christmas, instead of being a season of peace and joy, only adds to the pressure. Because our souls are so stressed, we have lost the meaning of this moment. Yet a suddenly pregnant girl in her early teens sings a song that shows her soul is large, and under pressure, able to not only hold it together, but to truly appreciate the magnificence of this holy mom

Why Brian Signed the Manhattan Declaration

After my two previous posts concerning the Manhattan Declaration I received a couple of emails alerting me to the inevitable red flags surrounding it. I suspected this would not take long. It seems the controversy is not in the statement itself, but in the idea that it includes Catholics, Evangelicals, Anglicans, and Orthodox under the same banner and definition of "the gospel." To demonstrate the point here are a couple of excerpts from an article written by Alex Crain, editor of : "Evangelical leader R.C. Sproul, who elected not to sign the Manhattan Declaration, sums up the controversy by his response (posted 12/8/09) on his blog , "The Manhattan Declaration confuses common grace and special grace by combining them. While I would march with the bishop of Rome and an Orthodox prelate to resist the slaughter of innocents in the womb, I could never ground that co-belligerency on the assumption that we share a common faith and a unified understandin

Why Al Mohler Signed the Manhattan Declaration

As a follow up to my post earlier this week on the Manhattan Declaration I wanted to share an article posted by Dr. Al Mohler, President of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY. Dr. Mohler is one of the Christian faith's foremost voices. The link provided is takes you to the full article, but I want to you to pay particular attention to the following paragraph from Dr. Mohler that expresses my fears and concerns as well. "There are several reasons, but they all come down to this -- I believe we are facing an inevitable and culture-determining decision on the three issues centrally identified in this statement. I also believe that we will experience a significant loss of Christian churches, denominations, and institutions in this process. There is every good reason to believe that the freedom to conduct Christian ministry according to Christian conviction is being subverted and denied before our eyes. I believe that the sanctity of human life, the integr

The Manhattan Declaration

This morning I heard Dr. Timothy George, Dean of Beeson Divinity School here in Birmingham, talking about the Manhattan Declaration on The Rick and Bubba Show . In short this is a document stating fundamental Christian convictions in three areas, the sanctity of human life, the definition of marriage, and religious liberty. I have had an opportunity to read through the document only once at this point in the morning, but from what I have read I believe it is a good thing. However, I would not encourage you to sign it haphazardly, but thoughtfully and prayerfully as it is a formal declaration with potential consequence. Our faith is under assault. We are long overdue in standing upon our convictions and expressing the gospel clearly in word and in practice. The Manhattan Declaration - The home page has a shortened form of the declaration. Click on the tab labeled " THE DECLARATION " for a full copy.

Mega Soul

Christmas changes our tune. Early in November some radio station in town will sell its soul to Christmas. Where the voice on the dial once sang about pickup trucks, cheating boyfriends, and dogs now the voice croons Christmas. It takes some of us longer than others, but by Thanksgiving we are ready for the change. We are in the Christmas spirit. Yet by the time Christmas arrives we begin to sing another song. We are ready for Christmas to be over. Is it that Christmas is too big? Is there too much to buy, to do, to decorate? Is it to the point that by the end of it all instead of being overjoyed we are overwhelmed? If we were to sing an honest tune about the condition of our soul during the holiday season would it be more of a rant than a reflection of peace and joy? An unwed, young, pregnant girl named Mary sings a song about a season in her life that has changed everything (Luke 1:46-55). Her song is an honest reflection of her soul. The opening lyric reads

The Things Branams Do at Home

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Snow Days

Here in Alabama the English term "snow flurry" has only one southern fried "ainglish" equivalent, "blizzard." So with the threat of our first "blizzard" of this winter season I want to take this opportunity to formally publish my snow and inclement weather policy. If inclement weather threatens a regularly scheduled worship service time, call Wal-Mart. If Wal-Mart is open, we will be open. More specifically, for the family of faith at Ridgecrest, call Wal-Mart on Chalkville Mountain Road at 661-1957. I know this sounds like a joke, and it is funny, but I'm not kidding. This has been my policy for the last 11 years and it will be until there is a hostile takeover of Wal-Mart or Jesus comes back, whichever comes first. Furthermore, this policy is funny, but it works. I adopted this policy while I was the pastor of Lantana Road Baptist Church in Crossville, TN where it snows almost every other Sunday. When it snowed people would call me