Tuesday, March 31, 2009


Being that it is Easter next weekend, I have been doing a lot of study lately on the subject of resurrection. A lot of my study and thinking has centered around N.T Wright's book "Surprised by Hope." One of the things that has been solidified in my mind is the future hope of a bodily resurrection. While my thinking has been impacted by Wright's work, it is also being molded by 1 Corinthians 15. I have always been firm in my conviction of a bodily resurrection, but have never been too sure of where that fits into the generally accepted idea of heaven.

I am really enjoying "Surprised by Hope" and highly recommend it... I don't agree with everything in it, but it has stimulated some really good thinking and discussion.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Donkey King

I wonder if we really understand just how ridiculous and counter culture Jesus truly was. I am preparing to teach this weekend and we have decided to spend these next two weeks pointing to Easter and the cross (then we are going to teach through the book of James... so excited!). My focus this week is going to be the triumphal entry. It's one of those stories that we have heard so many times that we might no longer hear it.

Jesus comes into town, being crowned as a king, and he comes in riding on a donkey! That's crazy. No king in their right mind would have ever ridden into town on a donkey,; especially when they are being declared to be the king. You have to wonder if the people who were watching and cheering and laying down their clothes for him to walk into town on were wondering what the heck he was doing. It would be the equivalent of President Obama riding in a Pinto during his inaugural parade. It would never happen.

It seems to me that Easter and all the events that lead up to it declare that God does not do things the way that we think he should. Are we willing to get on board with that kind of God? A God who rides into to town on a donkey?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

New Best Invention... EVER

It would not be quite as funny if wasn't such a useful idea. I want to get paid to come up with stuff like this!

The Influence of "New Calvinism"

I recently saw that Time magazine anointed "New Calvinism" as one of the most influential ideas in 2009. If you want to read the whole article, here is a link to it. The New Calvinism got just edged out by "Jobs are the new asset" (meaning that people are having to start working again to earn money) and "Recycling the Suburbs" (meaning that people aren't as enthralled with strip malls as they used to be). I'm curious as to how Time decided on their list, but I'm more curious as to how they chose "New Calvinism" as being worthy of the top three. I'm guessing that it is because New Calvinism is backed by two of the strongest voices in conservative Christianity today; John Piper and Mark Driscoll.

I want to be clear, I have nothing against these guys whatsoever, in fact I really like and admire both of their work (especially in the pulpit). I am just curious as to why this theology is gaining such momentum and force. In a culture that is moving more and more towards relativism, New Calvinism stands in stark contrast this idea (thankfully). Anyway, i would like to know what you think and why you think this movement is growing with such vigor.

Just a side note: I'm glad that the "New Calvinism" is growing... and not the "Old Calvinism." Seeing as how good old John Calvin and his followers were responsible for the deaths of many Anabaptists. Not one of the brighter times in the history of Christianity.

One of my favorite times of year!

This is one of my favorite times of the year. Spring is in the air (not that it really leaves for all that long in the winter here in SoCal), the quarter at Seminary is winding down, and we are gearing up for summer.

All that is fine and good, but let me tell you what really gets me going. March Madness baby! I can't wait for the tournament. I love all the upsets, come from behind victories, and the Cinderella team that inevitably shows up and makes a great run.

Oh, I can't wait!!!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Jesus the Post-modern Evangelist?

Was Jesus a post-modern evangelist at heart? Let me explain what I mean by that. I have been studying for this weekend's message that I am teaching on John 17. I am so excited because the passage is just absolutely jam packed full of applicable truth for the church today. However, one of the things that Jesus said in this prayer really got my attention.

Jesus says,"May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me." (John 17:23) The "they" in this verse is talking about followers of Christ; the church. So, Jesus' point is that the way that the world is going to know that Jesus is the Son of God (see also v. 21) is through the unity that the church exhibits. It's not through well crafted arguments, its not through diagrams or pamphlets, and its not through evangelistic crusades. Not that any of those are necessarily bad, but they are not the way that Jesus said people would know that he was the Son of God. Simply, he stated, people will know that he is the Son of God by the way that the people who claim to be his followers love each other and the world around them. So, one of the great evangelistic methods that Jesus taught was a unified body!

That sounds very post-modern. It sounds very experiential. It's almost like Jesus was saying that people have to have an experience with the truth before they are going to really, truly believe it. I wonder if the church has more to say to the post-modern mind than we have originally thought. I also have to wonder if we could make a bigger impact if we were more unified.


Tuesday, March 10, 2009


The word community is a loaded word. Have you ever really thought about it? The first part of the word, 'comm,' means together. The second part of the word 'unity' means single-minded or the state of being one. So, the word community really means; together being one. Talk about a loaded word!

I have been thinking a lot about this word a lot today especially. As The Well (the college ministry that I pastor) has grown, its been something that has been a challenge to maintain.

As a pastor there is nothing that I would like to see more than people who are connected with each other and who really care for each other. As I have been spending time thinking about the core attributes of God over the past few weeks, one of the things that stands out to me is that God is a communal God. I think especially to Jesus' prayer in the garden where he prays for the believers who were going to believe in him later (you and me). He prays that we would be one, just as he is one with the Father. There was no competition between Jesus and the Father, there was no division, there was no envy, there was no...

So, as I think about this aspect of God, I would live to get your feedback. What do you think the main detractors for community for the church today? Help me with my message this weekend!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Worst Sermon Ever?

You have to see this video. Please do yourself a favor and watch it! Absolutely hilarious. This pastor preaches a message on the phrase "I will destroy him that pisseth against the wall." Seriously watch!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Wright on Colbert

As you know I have been reading N.T Wright's book "Surprised by Hope." Some people have asked who he is, so I thought I would add a link to an interview with him. A friend shared this with me today. The interview actually gives a fairly good summary of N.T. Wright's premise in the book... when he is able to get a word in edge wise with Colbert. Anyway, Colbert... is always good for a laugh! Let me know what you think about his two-stage afterlife existence.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

One of my favorite pictures!

This is one of my favorite pictures... of all-time!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Surprised by Hope - 1

The premise of this book is pretty clear in the first chapter - at least Wright's view on heaven. His claim is that new creation a "new heaven and a new earth" have already come in Jesus of Nazareth. Essentially Wright's claim is that heaven is not a place that we should be hoping to go to one day when we die, but a reality that can be fully realized today. While on a lot of levels this type of argument is enticing, I don't think that it is completely Biblical.

There is definitely a literal place called Heaven described in the Bible. Just a few passages off the top of my head that come to mind are Isaiah 6, Revelation 4-5, and Paul's description of the hope that we have in 2 Corinthians 5.

But my question is, does it have to be either or? If we affirm that heaven is a place that followers of Christ will one day go when they die, do we also have to say that hope in Jesus Christ cannot be fully realized now? I think we fall into a unfortunate place when we limit the Kingdom of God to a place "out there" somewhere, OR when we say that it is fully here right now.

I am excited to continue to dialogue with Wright on this subject. He is one of the most respected historical Jesus scholars today. He is absolutely brilliant and I appreciate his work a ton... all that said, I don't expect that I will agree with him 100% on this subject.