Archive for October, 2006

Bob Kauflin has some thoughts about how the IPod is a blessing, and a curse.  As someone who is living in 2001 (I just got a flash MP3 player from my sister-in-law) I am more of an observer.  We can thank God for the blessings, even as we watch our hearts for evidence of the curse.

Read Full Post »

“I have always considered with Luther and Calvin that the sum and substance of the gospel lies in that word substitution- Christ standing in the stead of man.  The gospel is this: I deserve to be lost forever; the only reason why I should not be damned is that Christ was punished in my stead, and there is no need to execute a sentence twice for sin.

“I cannot enter heaven without a perfect righteousness: I am absolutely certain I shall never have one of my own.  But, then, Christ had a perfect righteousness and he said, ‘There, poor sinner, take my garment and put it on; I will suffer in your stead, and you will be rewarded for the works you did not do, but which I did for you.'”  Charles Haddon Spurgeon, as quoted in The Shadow of the Broad Brim.

Read Full Post »

More from Confessions of a Reformission Rev.

Soon Mars Hill became a stench in their neighbors’ nostrils.  The congregation had outgrown the facility, so parking problems erupted.  The loud music on Sundays created additional issues with the neighbors.  An even bigger problem loomed- the 150 barrier.

I’ve seen this in effect in churches of which I was a member.  150 is a tough barrier to break, and it has something to do with how we are made.  There is a limit to the number of folks the average guy can relate to.  And that number is …. 150.  So in his attempt to overcome this obstacle, he went to 2 services (like many a pastor before him).  As many other congregations before had done, they resisted.

This is a familiar concept.  Churches want to grow- just not too much.  We want a village.  We don’t want a church like a city- a large community of multiple smaller communities (neighborhoods).  Driscoll tried to address this.  Yes, some pastors are ambitous.  But many long to see the advance of the gospel tangibly.  Church growth is not an evil thing, though it can be pursued for wrong reasons, and wrong means.

To artificially limit the growth of a church could be sinful.  It is placing our preferences above what God may choose to do.  I didn’t see Him asking the early church how they felt about Him adding 3,000 to their number in one day, or the continual growth thereafter.  They rejoiced!  And so should we.


Read Full Post »

The Patriarch of the Celtics clan passed away from a heart attack Saturday, October 28th.  He was the architect of 16 NBA titles, 9 as coach and 7 as GM.  Red also broke the color barrier, repeatedly.  He was the first to draft a black player.  He was the first to have 5 black starters.  He was the first to hire a black head coach- Celtics legend & dear friend Bill Russell.  He pulled off some of the biggest, best trades in NBA history.

It is hard to believe that a man you’ve never met can be such a big part of your life.  As a native New Englander, I grew up longing to see Red light up another victory cigar.  As such, it was only appropriate to enjoy a Maria Mancini on the back porch last night.  I did not find out about his death until I went to the office Sunday morning to edit my sermon.  You knew it was coming, but still…. it is like a member of the extended family died.  Red and his gifts brought joy to so many.  His influence on me is seen on my sig for Celticsblog.com.  It is today’s Pensee for the Day.

“The most important thing is the ability to communicate.  It’s not how much you know.  It’s how you communicate what you know.”  Arnold “Red” Auerbach, a giant among giants.

Read Full Post »

I just listened to Mark Driscoll’s sermon from the Desiring God national conference.  WOW!  What a great sermon, a necessary sermon. 

He talks about the need for both the incarnational and the exalted Jesus.  Without the exalted Jesus, the incarnational Jesus lacks authority.  Without the incarnational Jesus, we don’t have a Great High Priest who is able to sympathize with us.  We need both.

He talked about the need to contend for the Gospel and contextualize the Gospel.  He listened 9 essential doctrines we need to contend for in the postmodern world.  In the process he takes on the emergent conversation.  Having contended for the faith, we must also speak timeless truth to a particular culture.  To do so, we must contextualize it.  Part of the proof of contextualization is the reality of the 4 Gospels- 4 different culture groups.

I just read 2 Timothy this morning.  Paul suffered all things for the sake of the elect.  We must be willing to do all things permissible to bring the gospel message to the elect, regardless of their culture instead of expecting them to meet you on your cultural turf.

So… move on over to Desiring God ministries and drink this one often.

Read Full Post »

More about Confessions of a Reformission Rev.

You don’t need to have a church of 75-150 to need a cup.  Lately Satan has been ‘showing’ up, and I’ve been brought to my knees trying to catch my breath.  I have to keep reminding myself that what Satan intends to destroy or discourage, the Father intends for His glory by revealing the power of the Gospel.

There sure what alot God intended for Mars Hill and Mark Driscoll in this phase.  Here it gets uncomfortable if you are a cessationist.  Some, but not all of this, would fit into the proposal by Wayne Grudem in The Gift of Prophecy.  Beyond that, I guess the way I’d skim that would be to say that what God “said” to Mark is not binding on all of us, but merely fitting to the situation in which he found himself.  There have been experiences I’ve had that I can’t explain.  But Mark was glad that God did not abandon him, because it was really hitting the fan.

First, an older, mentor-type guy tried to take over the church.  Unknown to Mark, until later, he’d done this before.  Then large parts of the music team fell under the influence of revisionist, postmodern theology which characterizes the emergent branch of the movement.  One of the most talented teachers also drank from the reconstructionist stream and dragged a bunch of people to a mystical RC church and new age meetings.  Then were the people who wanted him and his wife to spend all day with them. 


Read Full Post »

I finally got around to the message Donald Miller gave at Mars Hill (Grand Rapids).  [quick complaint- why do they keep the announcements?  i can’t fast forward on the old MP3 player]  It was more like a lecture… not really much work with a text of Scripture.  But he did say some really good things.

He focused on Christianity as relationship, not a system of ideas.  Yeah, we can get too focused on the theology.  But… theology is essential to knowing who the God we know is, and how we come to know Him and ….  Theology is not optional.  And I don’t think he’s saying it is, just reacting to those who study, study, study but don’t actually know God.

He starts by talking about the Magic Bullet, one of those food prep devices on an infomercial.  He uses this as a metaphor for how consumerism views God.  We get caught up on formulas and all kinds of things.

But God is a Father to us who believe.  As such, we does what is best for us rather than what we want or think is best for us.  I’ve been gaining a new appreciation for that as a father myself.   She doesn’t care about what is best for her, only that she wants something and I’m not coming through.

After listening to this at the gym, I was thinking about my own father and how that relationship makes my relationship with the Father difficult at times.  I can lapse into a functional relationship, finding intimacy so hard- mirroring the earthly one.  And I try hard to make Him proud of me.  But you see, He loves & accepts me in Jesus… so such machinations are really a waste of time.  In those moments I’m living like Jesus doesn’t matter- and not much could be more sinful.  I am a lousy son… but I am His son- all because of Jesus.

Read Full Post »

Sonics Center Robert Swift, who just won the starting center’s job, will be out for the season after injuring his knee in the final preseason game.  His ACL has been torn, and surgery is imminent.  So, you can rule out any trade for Swift, a.k.a. the Great White Hope in the minds of some, this season.

Read Full Post »

Newsboys Interview for Go

They are back with a new album, Go, on their own label.  And Christian Music Today has an interview.

Peter says they are more of a rhythms & melody band, not a guitar or keyboard band.  Yeah… but I love guitars!  They added guitarist Paul Colman.  Peter worked with Steve Taylor on song ideas again (a plus!).  Peter confesses that they had left the church for about 15 years, being spiritual nomads until about 5 years ago.  Why didn’t Steve kick their butts?!  Funny what you learn about people.  We are all so frail.

Read Full Post »

I was almost a “real pastor” once.  We nearly broke the 45 mark on a regular basis.  So close I could taste it until a power struggle ruined the party.  The ‘establishment’ resented the new blood and we never really recovered.  After reading this chapter of Confessions of a Reformission Rev., I might even be glad…

This chapter has the “infamous” story about Mark getting the call at 3 am from the guy who watched porn, and, as an older pastor referred to it to a friend, whipped the pony.  See, young edgy pastors aren’t the only ones who use euphemisms for masturbation.  Really, I fail to see what the problem is with Mark’s choice of words.  He does not portray this conversation as the height of his pastoral counseling.  He’s essentially confessing his failings.


Read Full Post »

Celtics Roster Set… or is it?

The Celtics cut Brian Grant a.k.a. Mr. Invisible, and Luke Jackson (thereby shocking all those who continue to claim they are a bunch of racists).  The big shocker was that the Kandi Man made the team.  In the “I Can’t Believe It’s True” saga, Michael received no free agent offers over the summer.  His agent basically abandoned him from what I read, and he begged to have a spot for training camp.  The Celtics offered a non-guaranteed contract for the veteran minimum.  With something to play for, he did okay.

The Celtics finally picked up Tony Allen’s contract option for 2007-8.  So the roster currently looks like this.

Center- Perkins, Ratliff, Kandi Man

Power Forwards- Jefferson, Gomes, Powe & Scalabrini

Swing Men- Pierce, Wally, Tony Allen, G Green

Guards- Telfair, Rondo, D. West, Allen Ray

Now we wait to see if Trader Danny pulls off a trade.  I doubt it, since Grant would have been a good contract to trade.  But you never know where Danny Ainge is concerned.

Read Full Post »

This Sunday I’ll be preaching on justification from Zechariah 3.  I’ve been slowly plodding my way through Justification by Faith Alone by Charles Hodge.  He’s one of the old Princeton theologians.  It was near his grave in the Princeton cemetary that I realized it must be love between me and the then-future Mrs. Cavman.  Yes, such a romantic (I was really there to see Edwards’ grave).

While Piper’s book on the subject, Counted Righteous in Christ is another very solid book on the subject, it isn’t my “go to” book.  One of the strengths of Piper’s book is that he interacts with the current movements to redefine justification and remove the concept of imputation, thereby undermining the Gospel.  So, this is a must for any pastor’s bookshelf.


Read Full Post »

The first “official” chapter of Confessions of a Reformission Rev. is entitled Jesus, Our Offering Was $137 and I Want to Use it to Buy Bullets.  He talks about having 0-45 people in the congregation.

I had one of those Sundays recently.  The general fund giving was $1.  Yes, $1.  Not enough to buy the bullets for the gun I don’t own anyway.

In his coaching corner, Driscoll says “In the infancy phase, the church and the leader are one and the same because the leader is essentially the only person holding the church together and doing most of the work.”

Lots of pressure is on the planter/pastor.  There really can be a sense that if you aren’t there, no one is.  At times this feels unbearable, and lots of counterfeit guilt can pile up.  While you focus on keeping it alive, you really should be doing something else- “the hard part was figuring out how to get my vision into the minds of other people so that together we could build the church God had put in my imagination.”

Driscoll develops the Missional Ministry Matrix with 4 focal points or questions.  1st is Christology- who is Jesus, what has He done for us, and what does He send us out to do?  2nd is Ecclesiology- what church structure will be most faithful to the Bible & enable us to fulfill our mission?  3rd is Missiology- who can we most faithfully expand God’s kingdom where He has sent us?  4th is Ministry- how does Jesus us want to serve His mission in our culture thru the church?

The 1st focus of the matrix was developed as Mark visited a wide variety of churches on Sunday mornings (his plant met in the evenings).  He witnessed plenty of selective presentations of Jesus.  They were not wrong, but only part of the story.  As someone once wrote (Packer?) “A half truth put forward as the whole truth is a lie.”  That would be a rough approximation.


Read Full Post »

I was just looking at the various lists, including mine, of the books that have shaped us.  Books are very important in the shaping of a mind.  Perhaps it is because I just finished reading a chapter from Leading with a Limp that I thought of character, which can’t be learned from a book.  Character is developed through truth, and experiences (circumstances).  It also developes through the involvement of people; those who nurture you, and people who love you enough to say the painful things that need to be said.  These are usually the people no one hears about.  They are part of the web of relationships that alters you forever.

So I wondered, who are those people in my life?  It is hard for us to measure this.  But these are the names of people who I know rubbed some of the rough edges off my life, who loved me when I’ve been most unloveable, who knocked me down when I needed it, and picked me up when I needed that.  To these people, and more, I am eternally grateful (as they are God’s loving gifts to me).

This list includes: CavWife, Jim Beattie, Bob Grosso, Ken Meeuwsen, Lennie Spitale, Mike Glodo, Eddie Reed, Brian Phipps, Chris Pekary, Chris Probst, Doug Falls, Stuart Swalheim, Chuck DeGroat, Jim Klukow, & Ray Cameron.

Read Full Post »

I came across some info in preparing to teach on Naturalism/Materialism for a worldviews course to equip the saints for mission. 

D.M.S. Watson was known to the British public of years gone by for his BBC talks popularizing Darwinism.  At a Cape Town conference to biologists he said:

“Evolution itself is accepted by zoologists not because it has been observed to occur or … can be proved by logically coherent evidence to be true, but because the only alternative, special creation, is clearly incredible.”

C.S. Lewis was surprised that Watson would let the cat out of the bag.  “Has it come to that?  Does the whole vast structure of modern naturalism depend not on positive evidence but simply on an a priori metaphysical prejudice?  Was it devised not to get in facts but to keep out God?”

Naturalism, a worldview that discounts faith as irrational, continues to believe in evolution despite proof.  They believe the proof exists, but that we have yet to find it.  On the basis of their worldview, they irrationally believe in it because there is, so far, no conclusive proof.  They irrationally believe said proof exists and that they will find it although they have no substantial reason to think so.  Naturalism cannot bear the weight of its own philosophical assumptions, and must employ faith, the very thing it despises in others.  Funny how that happens….

Read Full Post »

The Introduction of Confessions of a Reformission Rev, called Ten Curious Questions, made me want to cry.  I’m not sure what response you had or will have.  But I had the profound sense that I’m not really doing what I want to be doing.  I’m close, but not there. 

His first question is essentially a review of Radical Reformission.  And I know I need reformission.  And I know I need to continue to advance the idea of reformission. 

Part of my profound sadness is that we are neither traditional nor contemporary (traditionary as our ex-intern said).  We are a traditional sort of congregation that has contemporary aspects, but I see a great need to become missional.  I’m not sure how many of us “get it” yet.  I see the church becoming less and less culturally important.  And I don’t think that is a bad thing.


Read Full Post »

Review: Glory Road

Since this is CavWife’s birth month, she gets to choose the movies we watch.  Unfortunately for her, we really haven’t had time to watch any movies lately.  So, today was the first opportunity for her to choose. 

And she, definitely not even interested in sports, choose Glory Road.  It’s “not really about sports” she says.  I guess I’d say it is not JUST about sports.

This is the movie based on the 1966 NCAA Basketball Champion West Texas Miners.  This was the first team to start 5 African-American players, and defeated Rupp’s lilly white Kentucky Wildcats led by Pat Riley. 

It is about more than racism.  It is also about facing obstacles both internal and external.  Character determines what we will do with those obstacles.  The CavWife and I enjoyed the movie.  She was often tearing up, so you may need to keep some tissues handy.  It isn’t Hoosiers, but it is still a really good movie about sports, and then some.

Read Full Post »

Kris Lungaard recently spoke at the Omaha Bible Church.  If you are not familiar with Kris, he is a student of John Owen.

He has written 2 books in which he summarizes Owen’s thought, making them suitable for spiritual kids like us.  The Enemy Within summarizes a large portion of Volume 6 of Owen’s Works- On Temptation, On the Power of Indwelling Sin, and The Mortification of Sin.  His book Through the Looking Glass tackles Owen’s The Glory of Christ.

I was just reviewing The Mortification of Sin today for sermon prep.  This is the subject of Kris’ lectures at Omaha Bible Church.  The Irish Calvinist (on staff there) has a link, or you can go directly to their website to download or listen.

Read Full Post »

Entrance Themes for Pastors

As I sit here watching the playoffs, I was reminded of something I’d thought about awhile back- entrance songs.  Closers have them.  Some players request certain songs when they come to the plate.

Pastors could have them as they stride into the pulpit.  It would be catchy… some cool marketing.  “Hey, my pastor enters the pulpit to the intro of Deep Purple’s Perfect Strangers.”  “Dude, mine uses U2’s The Fly.”

So pastors… what would your entrance song be?

Read Full Post »

My friend, the Jollyblogger, has just started posting sermons on Sermon Cloud.  I noticed it this afternoon, and when I looked back tonight, he had an ‘amen’.  But…..

I looked and he ‘amen’ed himself.  What?!  Huh?! 

Actually, I think someone else puts them up for him, and ‘amen’ed it using his name.  So it just looks funny.  Scott, can I borrow you to listen to one of my sermons?  Seriously, the Cavman isn’t getting any play over at the Sermon Cloud.  Crushed I tell you.  I mean, do you really think Tim Keller, Mark Driscoll and Rick McKinley preach better than me?! 

If you are smart you do….

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »