Friday, February 27, 2009

I decided that over this season of Lent I am going to read through the book "Surprised by Hope" by N.T. Wright. I don't usually read other books while I am taking classes, but I have heard a lot about this one lately and the subject matter is really interesting. The subtitle is Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church. I thought that it would be a good read before Easter. If you have read it let me know what you think. I will post thoughts about it as they come.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Ash Wednesday

Tomorrow marks the beginning of the Lenten season. As a college group we are going to celebrate the beginning of Lent with an Ash Wednesday service. I am well aware that the Evangelical Church has not typically celebrated Ash Wednesday (or even Lent for that matter), but as a staff we wanted to do something to make the Easter season more impacting this year. The past few years I have felt like Easter has just flown by with a one hour long service on a Sunday morning. So, if you are curious about what Ash Wednesday is all about from an Evangelical perspective, I have included a link to Mark Roberts' blog where he wrote about Ash Wednesday. I think he does a good job of giving a summary - and he is a reputable scholar and pastor.

Let me know what you think about the Evangelical church celebrating Ash Wednesday. Have we gone too far in distancing ourselves from some of the "high church" holy days? Not too far in the sense that any of the days/celebrations (like lent and Ash Wed) provide salvation, but that we are missing out on something that could potentially help us tend to our spiritual lives in a greater manner? I'm interested to know what you think.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Power Team

I was studying for this weekend and thinking about the omnipotence of God. How do I adequately describe the power of God. That he is all-powerful, there is nothing that eh is unable to do. I went around and filmed a video over at palomar college asking students what the first thing that came to their mind when they heard the word "powerful." A lot of people said the president... and there were a few other random answers.

But for me, the first thing that I think of is... The Power Team. Do you remember the power team? It was/is a group of guys who go around and rip phone books in half all for the glory of Jesus. What a brilliant idea (?). Here is one press release that cam out about the power team:

THE POWER TEAM is a group of world class athletes who have performed the world’s greatest exhibitions of power, strength, speed, inspiration, and motivation in every state and in over 40 countries for over 30 years. These giant men, many weighing over 300 pounds, can blow up hot water bottles like balloons, snap baseball bats like twigs, lift telephone poles overhead, rip phone books and license plates like pieces of paper, and smash walls of ice and concrete.

I don't think that's the direction that I'm going this weekend, but it sure does bring back some good/funny memories. Check out some of these promotional pics!

On second thought... I might see if they are open this weekend!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Best Valetines Gift EVER!

I always like to give a little bit of "practical" dating or marriage advice (see Biblical dating post :) on my blog, and I think I found something that could really help you out. I ran across what I think could possibly be the best Valentines gift ever and the world must know that it exists! It is called the "Hug Me Pillow." (seriously, this is a real gift... and its on sale now at Because, really nothing says "I love you" quite like a pillow in the shape of an arm.

It's a bold move by somebody to market this, but I appreciate it the risk they have taken. I hope Kelly doesn't read this post... it will completely spoil her Birthday!

Erwin McManus - 2

This is my second post about the one day conference that I went to where Erwin McManus presented. One of the things about Erwin that is pretty impressive is that he is a consultant to people in the business world and media industry - giving advice about how to help people connect more to the "human story" (as he puts it). As he shared, he told us there were three things that every good story has (movie, book, etc.), and three main cravings that the Bible points out that all human beings share:
  1. Intimacy - he said that all people, everywhere, want to be a part of something bigger than themselves. That's why we are so big into: nations, cities, communities, teams, etc. When people give up on intimacy, they move towards immortality or isolation – even when people are wounded in LOVE, they still have the desire to be loved and to love.
  2. Meaning – humans have found endless ways to communicate – we create ways to find meaning. When people give up on meaning and move to a place of doubt and despair – becoming superstitious (we give meaning to meaningless things).
  3. Destiny/Progress – we are designed to believe that tomorrow can be better than today. When this is thwarted we move towards apathy or anger – and mental illness.
Erwin said that as we communicate to people, the more we can address these issues of the heart, the more effective we will be - both in preaching and in evangelism. Oh, and just a quick side note, the three cravings are the core content of his book Soul Cravings - a great read if you haven't read it yet.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Erwin McManus - 1

On Tuesday I had the chance to go down to a one day Pastor's conference with Erwin McManus. If you're not sure who he is, Erwin is pastor at a church in Los Angles called Mosaic. He is truly one of the most innovative and interesting people I have ever had the chance to be around. For my own reflection on the conference, I am going to blog over the next few days on some take aways.

One of the things that Erwin said was, "We need to be come more spiritual and more familiar with the voice of God." The whole room of pastors sort of looked at him slightly insulted because, well, we are pastors! But then he explained further. 2 things he said are huge take aways from the day. He said, "Moderns are more willing to accept a religious experience without God, post-moderns are not as willing. Sometimes Christians have a harder time seeing Jesus in things than non-Christians. And the he said , "People want to get engaged with Christianity to see if it is real… very different than wanting to be a Christian to go to Heaven."

His point was that the questions post-modern people are asking are different. They aren't better, they aren't worse, they are just different. He talked about the fact that when he shares the gospel with people, he really believes that the Spirit of God is already there, already active in the person's life, and that it is his job to show the person how and point out that Spirit as the Spirit of Jesus. I wonder how our evangelism tactics might differ if we really believed that the Spirit of God was actively working in the person's life that we were talking to. Would we feel the need to present an ironclad argument... or could we point out for them what the Spirit is doing in their heart?

It's very different. One of the things that I love about the gospel is its adaptability. The gospel has survived/thrived in a pre-modern world, a modern world, and now in a world that is moving towards post-modernism. The message hasn't changed in any of these settings, but the tactics and the focus that people have has. What a beautiful thing, what a brilliant God, that his word would be relevant and applicable in so many different cultures and situations.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Interviews at Palomar College

One of my favorite ways to start conversations with people about Jesus is to do interviews and find out what people think about a certain subject. This time when we went around were filming for a new series that we have coming up called I AM. The series is going to be on the attributes of God, so we thought it would be fun to see what words people would use to describe God. What we found was pretty interesting. Check out the video below.

Biblical Dating (?)

As a college pastor, one of the main things that I deal with is relationships. I ran across this list of Biblcal ways to find a wife. So, let's end the debate about dating and courting. I want to be Biblical on the way that we encourage people to find a mate. Here are 15 suggestions!


  1. Find an attractive prisoner of war, bring her home, shave her head, trim her nails, and give her new clothes. Then she's yours. (Deuteronomy 21:11-13)
  2. Find a prostitute and marry her. (Hosea 1:1-3)
  3. Find a man with seven daughters, and impress him by watering his flock. (Moses--Exodus 2:16-21)
  4. Purchase a piece of property, and get a woman as part of the deal. (Boaz--Ruth 4:5-10.
  5. Go to a party and hide. When the women come out to dance, grab one and carry her off to be your wife. (Benjaminites--Judges 21:19-25)
  6. Have God create a wife for you while you sleep. Note: this will cost you. (Adam--Genesis 2:19-24)
  7. Agree to work seven years in exchange for a woman's hand in marriage. Get tricked into marrying the wrong woman. Then work another seven years for the woman you wanted to marry in the first place. That's right. Fourteen years of toil for a wife. (Jacob--Genesis 29:15-30)
  8. Cut 200 foreskins off of your future father-in-law's enemies and get his daughter for a wife. (David--1 Samuel 18:27)
  9. Even if no one is out there, just wander around a bit and you'll definitely find someone. (It's all relative, of course.) (Cain--Genesis 4:16-17)
  10. Become the emperor of a huge nation and hold a beauty contest. (Xerxes or Ahasuerus--Esther 2:3-4)
  11. When you see someone you like, go home and tell your parents, "I have seen a ... woman; now get her for me." If your parents question your decision, simply say, "Get her for me. She's the one for me." (Samson--Judges 14:1-3)
  12. Kill any husband and take HIS wife (Prepare to lose four sons, though).
    (David--2 Samuel 11)
  13. Wait for your brother to die. Take his widow. (It's not just a good idea; it's the law.) (Onana and Boaz--Deuteronomy or Leviticus, example in Ruth)
  14. Don't be so picky. Make up for quality with quantity. (Solomon--1 Kings 11:1-3)
  15. A wife?...NOT? (Paul--1 Corinthians 7:32-35)

Monday, February 9, 2009

The Beauty of Sleep Deprivation!

As many of you know my wife gave birth to our first child on Friday January 30th! We are adjusting to being parents pretty well I think. When people tell you that life is going to change, they really mean it. Everything seems to be different; the way I look at the world, the way I pray, the way I think about God, etc. It really transforms a lot of things... in a good way!

The most popular question that people seem to as is, "Are you getting any sleep?" I'm not sure if its because I look tired or because most people with newborns don't get a lot of sleep. As I reflect on the question, yes, I am getting less sleep! However I can't think of anything that I would rather have interrupt my sleep than hearing Ethan's cry. As I begin on this journey of becoming a parent, even sleep deprivation is a beautiful thing! I'm not totally sure it will always be that way, but right now I will revel in the newness of it all, the beauty of it all, the blessing of it all, and enjoy even the lack of sleep! (spoken like a new parent I'm sure! :)