Archive for March, 2008

Meet the Committee

I am exhausted from a whirlwind weekend with a search committee.  I flew out very early Saturday morning on a plane crowded with people returning from Spring Break.  I flew back last night on a delayed flight that allowed me to have a whole row to myself, but unable to sleep due to turbulence.  So, I left before the kids were up, and returned after the kids were asleep- missing 2 days of their young lives.

I got a tour of the area, and the facility.  It is a fairly new facility and looks very nice.  They have plenty of land, so there is room for growth. 

The search committee was nicer.  There was plenty of good-natured ribbing to go around.  While “interrogating” me, I was not wearing something as embarassing as PJs.  Rather they “grilled” me over long delicious meals together.  I struggled to answer one question as Deep Purple’s Highway Star played in the background.  And one of the committee members struggled to pay attention to my answer too.  Lest you think it was pure pleasure, there were some tough questions.  Unfortunately for them, when I get tired I ramble.  Hopefully I didn’t do too much of that.

In between the 2 discussions, we participated in a worship service where I was able to preach.  It was a bit out of all our comfort zones in terms of style, but the host church was very friendly and they are reaching those who’ve been damaged by other churches.  I did a revised version of my recent sermon on the Tale of the 2 Sons (Luke 15:11-32). 

It was a preliminary meeting, so CavWife & kids stayed behind in FL.  If they want to extend a call, at the very least the 2 of us would travel.  But that is getting ahead of ourselves.  Now both parties seek discernment: Am I the right person for them?  Is that the situation for me?  I’ve got strengths and weaknesses; they’ve got strengths and challenges.  Now we ask that God would work in us to will and work according to His purposes (Philippians 2). 

Now …. I need some rest.

Read Full Post »

Iain Murray traces the development of Revivalism in Revival & Revivalism: The Making and Marring of American Evangelicalism.  Three factors are most important in the development of revivalism as distinct from revival: the Kentucky revivals, Dr. Nathaniel Taylor and Charles Finney.

The story begins in Kentucky during the revivals during the Second Great Awakening (early 1800s).  There were physical phenomena in previous revivals, but in Kentucky they seemed to take on a life of their own.  Previously, wise pastors put the emphasis on the proclamation of truth.  Most of the revivals took place among Calvinists, so there was an emphasis on doctrine influencing practice.  In Kentucky, the Presbyterians, Baptists and Methodists would join together for camp meetings.  They would celebrate communion, and people would hear a number of sermons.  The camps grew so large, you could have multiple sermons being preached at the same time.  When physical manifestations popped up, some of the pastors began to encourage them rather than restrain them.

By and large the Methodists encouraged the physical manifestations.  The Presbyterians were split over them.  What ended up happening is that those who supported and encouraged these physical manifestations soon began to preach against Calvinism as anti-revival and unbiblical.  They were anti-doctrine in general, and loathed Reformed Theology in particular.  Francis Asbury was one of the leaders in this new attack on Calvinism here in America.  He was one of the people who began to institutionalize the camp meetings.  He thought certain practices produced certain results.  The physical manifestations became necessary elements of revival, which was a new development.  This is a sad development, in part, because American Presbyterians had often assisted the fledgling Methodists.  This was clearly a knife in the back.

At the new Yale Divinity School, Dr. Taylor began his assault on Calvinism.  He rejected the doctrine of depravity.  He began to popularize Grotius’ governmental theory of the atonement.


Read Full Post »


We sent this out as a family photo.

The evaluation with the cranio-facial team went well.  It was a bit overwhelming at times.  There were anywhere from 1-4 specialists in the room at any given time.  That was pretty overwhelming for me at times- too many conversations to follow.  It felt like dinner with my wife’s family.  This would be why she felt at home.  My job was to keep CavSon reasonably quiet while not being examined.  The plastic surgeon wants to do the surgery ASAP.  We are to call his office tomorrow and try to set up a time for it.  Life is pretty complicated right now.  There will be lots of changes in the next few months, and we aren’t sure precisely what many of them will be.

At least I’m not this guy!  I’m currently watching the Simpsons Movie.  Homer’s ability to consistently do the wrong thing is absolutely amazing.  So, compared to him … I’m  a pretty good husband and father.  It is pretty funny.  Utterly pointless and irreverent, but really funny.  Hopefully I won’t wake up the little girl.

However, my wife just doesn’t get the Simpsons.  But we still love each other.

Read Full Post »

My Breakdancing Boy


Okay, he really isn’t breakdancing.  He’s falling down while trying to walk in adult shoes.  But I thought it looked cool.

It is hard to believe it has nearly been 2 months since he entered our home.  Overall he’s fitting in well.  He and CavDaughter get along most of the time.  Just like siblings.

He no longer gorges on food.  He’s picked up some more words, but still prefers to just point and grunt.  He has trouble staying still when you change him, which can become very frustrating  when you are in a hurry.

He is doing well when we leave him in the nursery at church.  Our main complaint would be the whining.  But most kids his age whine.  That and how he can’t make up his mind: he’ll want to be helped up on the couch, then down.  Then up.  Then down.  Repeat ad infinitum.  Oh, and he likes to step on your feet.

Tomorrow (Thursday) we bring him for the monthly CMS cranio-facial surgical team evaluation.  CavDaughter gets to spend some time with a friend in the morning while we take him to Orlando.  The evaluation should take 2 hours, and we’ll get the dictation in about 2 weeks.  It will be the treatment plan for the next year.  I’m hoping he only needs one surgery this year, but we’ll see.

Read Full Post »

I forgot Iain Murray’s book at home so my post on Revivalism will have to wait.  But while checking a few blogs I ran across this recent interview with Mark Driscoll.  In this section he addresses the question of revival and the remarkable growth experienced by Mars Hill and some other Acts 29 churches.

JV: Do you have a theology of revival? I guess many would see the rapid growth at Mars Hill (and some of the Acts 29 work) as taking on revival proportions. Is this how you would see it, or are you looking for something further (or do you even see revival as a helpful category)?

MD: I do. I have read both Jonathan Edwards and Iain Murray on this, for example. I have also studied many church movements such as the Methodists and Jesus Movement. I do believe that revival is akin to Nehemiah stacking the old stones that had lain unused for many generations. My city (Seattle) is still pre-Christian so technically I would say that we are more of a missions movement than a revival movement. But, as we spread through our campuses and church plants around the nation and world, I guess that is possible.

By God’s grace, we are multi-denominational and having what seems to be a positive and helpful influence on many churches, denominations and networks for which we praise God. In the end, we’ll see what God does. We’re off to an encouraging start but the game is far from over and maybe one day when I’m dead someone can write the report of what happened and see if it qualifies as something akin to a revival. For now, I’m just trying to follow Jesus, love my wife, enjoy my kids, pastor my church, preach my Bible, confess my sins, write my books and have my fun.

JV: Given your vantage point, what would you predict for the development of evangelicalism in the West over the coming 20 years?

MD: I would hope to see a robust gospel, love of church planting, and call for dudes to act dudely.

I appreciate his humility.  Unlike a revivalist, he’s not claiming he’s got a revival going on.  He is waiting for the test of time to reveal if what is happening is genuine.  It may be this humility that has opened the door for even more growth.  Earlier this year Mark publicly repented of the pride he saw charactizing his ministry, and by extension that of the church.  After the Resurgence conference he shared how Piper & C.J. Mahaney had a heart to heart with him.  And the gospel seems to make progress in this “missions” setting.

Adrian Warnock has Mark summing up Holy Week like this:

 “Something broke this weekend, spiritually. I’m not sure how to explain it, but God’s favor was evident everywhere. We had 8,070 people attend on Sunday, plus however many could not make it into the Eastside Campus or stand up outside the building to listen on speakers because there was no room in the parking lot or on the sidewalk. We had 3,648 for Good Friday services plus however many hundreds got turned away from the 7 p.m. service at Ballard. We had at least 11,718 people altogether this weekend, somewhere near 200 baptisms yesterday alone, and are still trying to figure out how many people got saved. . . .Yesterday, while singing with the congregation at each of the five services I preach live, I could not stop weeping. People were singing loudly with their hands in the air. They cheered all day as people came forward to give their lives to Jesus and be baptized. The pastors were up front laying hands on people, praying over them, and leading them to Christ by the dozens at every service. I stood off to the side during the singing to watch what God was doing, and multiple people walked up to me weeping and asked me to pray with them to become a Christian.”

Being a student of Edwards and Murray, I have a hard time thinking they are using the typical manipulative techniques advanced (but not invented) by Finney which fit in with his rejection of depravity, substitutionary atonement and other biblical teachings.  It will be interesting to follow this over time.  Hopefully Mark will remain humble, indeed increase in humility, as he watches God changes lives thru the gospel of His Son.

Read Full Post »

In my earlier post on With One Voice by Reggie Kidd, I summarized Bach, Bubba & the Blues Brothers.  I wanted that to function as a book review of sorts.  Now I want to expand those summaries of Reggie Kidd’s ideas and play with the concepts abit.  I’ll interact with material from the book and throw in a few ideas of my own.

Bach- Some Christians have the time, aptitude and resources to fully appreciate classical culture.  I say fully because I appreciate classical culture though it is not where I live.  It is like a vacation spot where I am spoiled at times by Mozart, Bach, Rossini, Tchaikovsky and others.  I haven’t spent the time to study their background and the origins of the various pieces.  I enjoy them, but I don’t have a full appreciation of their work.  But some of my fellow Christians do fully appreciate them.

Classical culture points us to the transcendent.  It is largely about the quest for truth and beauty.  It requires the highest of skills to play/perform.  This is what makes it beyond the reach of most congregations except on special occasions (like a “vacation”).  We need to venture to a performance of Handel’s Messiah periodically to get a taste of beauty and transcendence.  Some of the greatest hymns have been set to music by these musical giants as well.

But I love what Reggie says: “Now, Jesus loves Bach’s music and that of his aesthetic kin- of this I am certain.  I am equally sure, however, that he finds their most elevated and demanding stuff to be but nursery tunes.”  Even in our heights we fall far short of the bar set by our Creator.  Let us not think our worship is better because our songs are more elegant or deeper.  All our praises need to be purified by the blood of Jesus.

But the lush music is a pointer for our longings as well.  Reggie notes the disagreement between Ambrose of Milan and his disciple Augustine of Hippo (you may have heard of him).  Ambrose loved lush music in worship.  Augustine feared it, thinking it would distract him from the text.  They should work together!  A rich text may require rich, lush music.  Music is to capture the meaning of the text, amplifying it so we are lost in wonder at the Redemeer’s love for such as us.  Reggie puts it this way: “there is an expansiveness of spirit Christ would inculcate in us and which art of this kind fosters.”


Read Full Post »

Fantasy Baseball Draft

It was delayed, but we had our baseball draft tonight.  I’m part of a league with a bunch of guys from a church in Charlotte, NC.  I tried to balance best player available and the scarcity principle until the last few rounds.  Scarcity takes the drop off in talent at a position into account.  I don’t know if it worked.  Here is how my team shaped up, in order.

OF Matt Holiday  Rockies

DH David Ortiz  Red Sox

2B Brian Roberts Orioles, but possibly soon the Cubs  (there are not many high ranked 2B, and he gets lots of steals)

SP Josh Beckett  Red Sox

RP J.J. Putz   Mariners

3B Chipper Jones  Braves

SS Rafael Furcal  Dodgers

OF Brad Hawpe  Rockies

OF Delmon Young  Twins  (this is the one pick I’m kicking myself for tonight)

SP Javier Vazquez  White Sox

OF Jacoby Ellsbury  Red Sox  (I figure Coco will probably be traded.  Jacoby will get me steals & runs if Tito figures out can actually lead off in the regular season and not just the World Series.)

SP Brad Penny  Dodgers (he’s their opening day pitcher)

1B James Loney Dodgers

RP Jason Isringhausen  Cards

C Ivan Rodriquez  Tigers (‘Tek strikes out too much, and that counts in this league)

SP Dustin McGowen  Jays

OF Jeremy Hermida Marlins  (could be a big sleeper pick)

SP Derek Lowe

2B, SS Felipe Lopez  Nationals

RP Hideki Okajima  Red Sox

I’m a bit concerned about having so many Dodgers.  Now it is time to build my watch list.

Read Full Post »

Considering the CSB

I have not read the CSB.  Like many people, I saw Holman imprintur and figured “Southern Baptist Bible”.  Seems I was wrong.  There’s an interview with Dr. Blum, a Presbyterian, about its distinctives, history, translation and marketing.  I think the distinctives and translation are the most interesting.  They introduce a new term in the translation debate- optimal equivalence.  There is a new section on gender issues tacked onto the translation section.  If you are in the market for a new Bible, this may be worth considering.

He goes after the ESV for being in the King James tradition, and continuing to use some outdated language.  I like the ESV, but I’m not married to it.  The ESV gained popularity in many conservative circles during the gender controversy with the TNIV.  I’m taking this to mean Dr. Blum views the ESV as the main competition.

They used the Critical Text, not the Textus Receptus or Majority Text.  So it is based on the Nestle.

There is an interesting anecdote about the Gideons.  They are an interesting group.  Well meaning, but their marriage to the KJV (some do use the NKJV) is frustrating to me.

They chose to use Yahweh rather than LORD at times.  That would be the difference between a name and a title.  I would prefer if they just used YHWH, but that’s me.  Too bad they didn’t decide to go with Messiah over Christ, since Christ has morphed into a last name via ignorance. 

He gets into the “red letter” issue and how marketing is often in conflict with theology/scholarship on this matter.  There is a Minister’s edition that does not have red letters.

They chose to be “gender accurate” rather than gender neutral. 

HT: Jolly Blogger

Read Full Post »

Reggie Kidd was one of my professors at RTS Orlando.  He, like Dr. Nicole, is a first-class procrastinator when it comes to writing books.  Both men have so much the church needs to hear, but other duties and/or pleasures keep their writing to amounts far less than people like me would like to see.

Reggie is not one to overwhelm you with his charisma or sheer brilliance.  He is one who gently calls you to deeper places with the Savior.  He’s the professor you fondly remember because he exudes humility and character.  With One Voice is a welcome addition to my library which I’ve put off reading for far too long.

This book was a long time in being birthed, and one friend from another class recalls it originally being titled The Singing Savior.  This was a nod to his beloved professor, Edmund Clowney, whose idea he takes up for most of this book.  It is a worship book about Jesus.  In typical Reggie fashion, he takes his time to get to the point.  He works his way through Psalms to help us get a big picture view of its movement theologically.  In parallels David’s life in many ways.  He gets to the point when he gets to Psalm 22.  This Psalm is about David’s struggles, but also in a way that points to Messiah’s suffering and eventual exaltation.

Reggie wants us to see that Jesus is the Last & Greatest Lead Worshipper.  He is not only the object of our worship, but He sings over us and with us.  Those who listen find themselves transformed.  But Jesus is also building a new temple of singing stones (1 Peter 2), those who believe.  We sing because He sings.  He leads us in redemptions songs.

It is within this biblical concept that Reggie introduces us to Bach, Bubba and the Blues Brothers.  Building on Psalm 22, Reggie notes that though we sing with one voice, we sing differently.  The rich and the poor are welcome in His presence, and they sing different songs.  This section of the book is born from teaching Worship for years and being dissatisfied with thinking of culture simply in terms of classical culture & pop culture.  Reggie argued for the existence of folk culture as well.

Bach is for the rich & refined.  It is high culture.  There is nothing wrong with high culture.  It has its place at the table.  It has a rich heritage.  This music reflects Jesus’ “grandeur and royalty and urbanity” and gives “expression to Christ’s loftiness and majesty.”

Bubba is Reggie’s shorthand for folk music, the culturally less refined.  It emerges from the the NT vision of the Family of God.  It reflects Jesus’ humility in taking on flesh and bone, coming in the form of a slave.  It captures His suffering, and our longing.  We sing about our Brother who has come to deliver us.

The Blues Brothers reflect our voice as the Friends of God.  We enlist the dialect of our greater surrounding culture to serve redemptive ends.  Jesus is not averse to the hoi polloi- the masses.  He sings so they may hear as well.

The Worship Wars pit these 3 styles of music against one another.  Jesus has other ideas.  He longs to put all 3 at His service and reveal His redemptive purposes.  Each has a place in the living temple.  We mustn’t exalt our preferences in such a way that divides the City of God, the Family of God or the Friends of God.  While we may appreciate one more than the others, we are to affirm that Christ can transform all 3 to His glory- and does.  We need each of these, in my opinion, to keep us balanced in our focus lest we suffer from an over-realized or under-realized eschatology.

This is another gentle, humble call from my professor.  He points us beyond our preferences to Jesus, the One who sings and calls us to sing.  He is able to weave the various songs we sing into a beautiful symphony of redemptive sound.  Yes, Reggie takes the scenic route but it is a journey worth taking with him.

Read Full Post »

Last week I finished reading Judges.  I actually should have posted this last week since it fit in so well with Holy Week.  Please, forgive me (in keeping with the grace you have received).

In the first half of Judges you have the A-B-C-D pattern.  The people forget God and commit apostasy.  God batters them in keeping with the covenant.  The people cry out to God, and He then sends someone to deliver them.  Easy pattern, and at first the stories are short.  It all seems cut and dried.  But they get longer beginning with Deborah.  Part of the apostasy in this case was wimpy men.  Their apostasy is heightened by the fact that Deborah leads them into battle, and Jael kills Sisera.  Barak and his men are fearful & timid.  Deborah’s leadership is not to be seen as authorizing female leadership, but as an abberition caused by disobedient men.

Gideon was also timid, but eventually came around to faithfully deliver Israel from Midian.  But he led the people, unknowingly, into another round of apostasy by created the golden ephod that he and they began to worship in Ophrah (Judges 8:27).  The quality of deliverers is quickly declining.  His son, by a concubine, Abimelech is the next local judge who slaughters his brothers.  He does not deliver the people, but rather is most likely an instrument of judgment on those who prostituted themselves with the ephod.  For his own wickedness, he is slain in battle at the hands of a woman to fulfill the prophecy of Gideon’s only remaining legitimate son.


Read Full Post »

Conan is owned by a Zen Buddhist priest in southern Japan.  He has taken to mimicking the priest.  He sits on his hind legs and puts his front paws on the altar.  Word has spread and people are flocking to see the dog.  It would be our version of the face of the Virgin in french toast, I guess.

Obviously my theology of prayer is quite a bit different than that of Zen Buddhism.  Cute, perhaps, but not praying.  Though I believe Jesus died, in part, to restore all of creation (the middle of Romans 8 ) I don’t think that extends to individual animals like it does to individual people.  CavDog won’t be in the New Jerusalem (Rev. 21-22).  And Conan isn’t praying.  God has placed people, His image bearers and representatives, to care for the animals like Conan.  So God meets Conan’s needs thru Joei Yoshikuni.

Read Full Post »

My copy of Keller’s The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism. Yes, I am a bit behind on new books. This happens when you don’t have a book allowance anymore. I had to pick up some resources to do some pre-marital counseling and decided to pick it up.   WTS Books has a reader’s guide available on PDF.  I am looking forward to spending some time learning from someone with far more experience than me in this area (among others).

I have to travel out of town for business next weekend. Flight time should give me some time to read good chunks of it. So I hope to have some thoughts about it when I get home.
I also need to go buy a notebook/journal. I want a place to put down my thoughts on ministry & more. I want to make some of my responses to things like Keller’s work on contextualization, gospel incarnation & communication, and thoughts from various sermons & sermon lectures. I have these ideas stuck on post-it notes in my office. Not quite the most efficient way. And I don’t want it on computer. I have too much on computer and would like to spend LESS time on the computer. It is too easy for me to feed my spirit of procrastination on the computer. A handy notebook could go with me anywhere to get those brilliant and not-so-brilliant thoughts down.

Read Full Post »

Freaky Florida Friday

While on vacation, a Michigan woman was riding in a boat driven by her father down in the Keys.  They were going approximately 25 miles per hour when a 75 pound stingray jumped out of the water in their path, striking her and killing her instantly.  The stingray also died in the collision.

Judy Kay Zagorski, of Pigeon, Mich., was sitting in the front seat of a boat going 25 miles per hour when the spotted eagle ray, with a wingspan of 5 to 6 feet, leaped out of the water, said Jorge Pino, spokesman for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

The 57-year-old woman’s father was driving the boat on the Atlantic Ocean side of Vaca Key, Pino said.

“He had absolutely no warning,” Pino said. “It just happened instantaneously.”

The collision knocked Zagorski backward onto the floor of the boat, Pino said.

The impact likely killed the woman. She did not appear to have puncture wounds from the ray’s barb, Pino said, adding that an autopsy is planned.

Thinking of traveling to Florida, have no fear.  This is not a common occurance.

Spotted eagle stingrays can weigh 500 pounds and have a wingspan of up to 10 feet. They are known to occasionally jump out of the water but are not aggressive and use the venomous barb at the end of their tail for defense. The rays are protected in Florida waters and are typically seen swimming around on the water’s surface.

“Rays jump to escape a predator, give birth, and shake off parasites,” said Lynn Gear, supervisor of fishes and reptiles at Theater of the Sea in Islamorada.

“They do not attack people.”

Read Full Post »

Considering CavDog


This would be CavDog, who goes by the names Huck, Huck-a-Buck, the Puking Pup, the Visa Dog and The Old Man.  He is, what one friend called, “the coolest dog I’ve met”.  CavWife would call him the most annoying dog she’s met since he is often underfoot (hence the Visa Dog- everywhere you want to be).  He was named Huckleberry from the great line in Tombstone- “I’m your huckleberry.”  He was “bequethed” to me by a friend who was moving away in 2000.  He had 2 kids and the Huckster wasn’t wild about hanging around in the back yard.  He was lonely, so he’d dig his way out.  He always came back; he just wanted company.

He was an inside dog seeing as how I had no fence in my newly purchased bachelor pad.  Upon marriage, CavWife quickly discovered that he is a shedding machine.  He lives to shed, and she likes to keep a clean house.

It is out of her amazing love for me that we still have this dog.  We nearly gave him away to some people we knew that were interested in a good family dog (he is awesome with kids).  She made it my decision.  I was not ready to part with him.  But then CavDaughter came.  Fortunately, he pretty much ignored her.  Sadly for CavWife, the daughter soon warmed up to the dog.  But there were comments about how if we get a second child …. 

We have the second child, and he’s still here.  This is probably because we have him shaved to keep the shedding to a minimum.  But he’s been a scratching, chewing machine for about a year.  He’s got skin issues.  I’ve made the mistake of mentioning that when we move (I have faith) he wouldn’t be coming with us.

Earlier this week we spotted blood stains on the carpet.  He’d scratched himself raw before, but this time we found a lump on his chest.  A trip to the vet revealed it was an ulcerated tumor.  No way to tell if it is cancerous without removing it.  Here’s the problem.  He’s 12.  According to the chart on the wall of the exam room, that makes him medically 69 and classified as geriatric.  There is no telling what the 3 hurricanes did to age him.  He’s old enough that dropping $600 on surgery seems neither wise nor prudent.  His skin condition is a staph infection.  The antibiotics will clear up the skin (hopefully greatly reducing the itching/scratching/chewing), and possibly reduce (not eliminate) the tumor.

If he’s not scratching, the likelihood of my putting him down if/when we move decreases (CavWife knows I have an emotional attachment to my dog, as does the daughter, though she recently said “we need a new dog”).  I’m in a quandry.  I don’t know what to do.  If I knew he was in great pain it would be a no-brainer.  But I think we are in the grey area with a 12 year-old dog whose not looking at much time even IF the tumor isn’t malignant.  What to do?

Read Full Post »

The Red Sox players believe that MLB has gone back on their word to pay the coaches and other staff traveling to Japan a $40k stipend for this trip.  In addition to the 2 season-opening games, there will be 2 exhibition games and clinics.  The Red Sox learned yesterday that the coaches will not receive the stipend.

What I find admirable here is that they are taking a stand for other people, not themselves.  This is not “show me the money”, it is “show them the money.”  For some of the coaches, this can be 40% of their annual salary.

“It’s uncomfortable, but the principle is the same, they are the basis of what takes care of us,” said Varitek. “We have to be prepared to take care of what was ultimately promised to our staff and everybody else on the trip. It isn’t about us. There are other people that are involved that are being forgotten about.”

“There were a lot of things that have gone on that have fallen by the wayside a little bit and this is one that really can’t,” said Varitek. “They are an extended part of our family and the ones who take care of us.”

In this age of selfish athletes, this display of selflessness is great.  Sadly, MLB seemingly couldn’t care less about the coaches and trainers.  Hopefully they will come to their senses and compensate the coaches so the Sox can board that plane.

Update: Looks like an agreement has been reached, and today’s game will be played after a 1 hour delay.

Update #2:  As one executive told me after it was said and done, and Toronto manager John Gibbons later insinuated, it was fortunate that the coaches had this team at their back, because not a lot of clubs have the cache, experience, and security to execute such a plan as the Red Sox did. It is no knock on the Athletics of the world, or an extra dose of praise for the Red Sox, but simply the reality of the situation.

Read Full Post »

It was an ugly first half of basketball.  Neither the Celtics or the red-hot Rockets could really find a grove.  The Rockets led much of the half, but the Celtics shut them down in the final minutes to tie the game at 40 going into halftime.  I’m not a fan of ugly basketball ala the Bad Boys and early 90’s basketball.

It didn’t necessarily look good for the Celtics.  They had played the night before.  The overcame a season-high deficit of 22 to beat the defending champion Spurs.  Often the second half of a back-to-back is when you lose your legs.  Ray Allen was still sitting with a bum ankle.

You would have thought the Rockets played the Spurs the night before.  The Celtics continued their streak to build up a lead they would never relinquish.  The Rockets never seemed to get the engine running.  That was due to the Celtics defense, in large part.  They neutralized T-Mac, and picked up 10 steals.  Raefer Alston lost 2 left-handed bounce passes, one resulting in a nice Pierce layup as he avoided Shane Battier.

There was a scary moment or two in the 3rd quarter when Scola laid a hard foul on Tony Allen.  I disagree with it being a Flagrent 2.  It didn’t seem to be purposeful, just a hard foul.  But Tony writhed on the floor with a bruised back.  I wasn’t sure if that would be a momentum changer.  But the Celtics maintained their intensity.

Since it was a late game, I went to bed shortly after the beginning of the 4th quarter when it seemed certain that the Rockets were not coming back.  The 94-74 victory showed me that the Celtics are still the team to beat in the playoffs.  They have done very well against the Western Conference, and are now 7-0 against the highly-lauded SW division.  The Celtics are not just beating up on the weak Eastern division, but beating everyone.  They have consistently passed every test that has come their way.

It also showed that the Rockets don’t have an inside game with Yao Ming injured.  They can’t compete with a team that has a quality inside game.  The Celtics punished them inside.  It was beautiful watching Pierce penetrate and dish to Leon Powe, who poured in 21 points, and Perkins.

(photo shamelessly ‘borrowed’ from Celticsblog)

Read Full Post »

Let the classic Monty Python song begin.  But this post is about e-mails, not spiced pseudo-ham.

I’m just not sure what to think about this particular bit of spam e-mail.  The subject was : A Vegas-Style Church Leadership Event- Real. Raw. Practical.

I couldn’t resist, the flesh is so weak!  I confess that the Pharisaical spirit can find residence in me from time to time.  Perhaps it has returned from the dry, arid places to find me again.  But I struggle with the concept of “uncensored grace”.  Even more, I struggle with every church that grows thinking they have the model for church growth.  But I get ahead of myself.

The email messes up my post.  So here is the link for Pursuit.  Take a peek (no inappropriate content that I could find).  Check out their statement of faith.  Notice anything missing????

I’ve gotten into discussions, to no avail, about intentionally using provocative combinations of words that are theological oxymorons.  They end up, in my opinion, conveying false ideas about the truth.

It doesn’t help that I’m currently reading about revival and revivalism.  Revivalism focuses on the external and what man does.  The American church has been greatly influenced by revivalism (as opposed to biblical revival) and this produces a seemingly endless stream of the strange, distracting and disconcerting.

What do you think, has the Pharisaical spirit arrived or should we be concerned with such approaches to ministry?  I don’t think every ministry has to be the same, but shouldn’t there be bounds beyond which we are unnecessarily capitulating to culture?  Are Jesus and the Apostles crying out “Way to go!” or “In the name of all that is holy, STOP!”?

Read Full Post »

The Spurs have been slumping, but the Celtics have not had much success in San Antonio.  Not having satellite, I checked in with Yahoo when I got home from a dinner at a friend’s home.  It looked ugly as the Celtics were outscored 28-11.  It looked like one of those nights when they just wouldn’t get on track.

Apparently NBA League Pass colorman Sean Elliott (who won a title with the Spurs) agreed, stating there was no way the Spurs could lose after that first quarter.

It looked to be a see-saw kind of game as the Celtics drew near and the Spurs opened up the lead again.  But the Celtics finally pulled ahead, and stayed ahead to gain a 93-91 victory.

The Texas road trip is always tough.  San Antonio has been the toughest lately.  But tonight the Ray Allen-deprived Celtics got a St. Paddy’s Day win to remember.  The Celtics aim to hold onto, or extend their lead in the Eastern Conference over the Pistons.

Next up … the red-hot Rockets.  Our 3 stars may be too much for T-Mac.

Read Full Post »

The first article of the U.S. Constitution concerns the Legislative Branch.  All legislative powers are established in the Congress, and may not be delegated to others.  This means that the Executive and Judical branches may not make laws.  The Executive Branch may suggest laws, but primarily enforces laws.  The Judicial Branch interprets laws, and applies them to specific cases heard before them.

The Congress is composed of the House of Representatives and the Senate.  The number of Representatives is based on a census to be taken every 10 years, and you may have one representative in the House  for every 30,000 citizens (clause 3).  Initially, a direct tax was placed on states in proportion to the number of citizens.  The 16th Amendment eliminated this in favor of an Income Tax.

Impeachment begins in the House of Representatives which determines what is an impeachable offense, and whether grounds for impeachment exist.  The Senate tries the impeachment.  An impeached person may be removed from governmental office, and is still liable to be charged in either civil or criminal court.  2/3 of the members present must find the accused officer guilty.

The speech of Representatives and Senators during debate is protected from legal action outside of the Congress (Section 6).  Congress may discipline its members for speaking slander, for instance.  But one Senator may not take another to civil court.  This is intended to protect their rights to argue their side of the case without fear of legal action.

Section 7 covers bills.  If a law is passed by the House and Senate, it must then be approved by the President.  If vetoed, he noted objections are brought to the body that originated the Bill.  If 2/3 vote to approve said bill, it passes to the other body.  If 2/3 of that body approves the Bill, it becomes law.  This provides a check on the legislature, so bare majorities may not tyrannize the populace.  All revenue bills are to originate in the House, though the Senate may propose amendments (those dreaded earmarks).

Here are the powers of Congress:


Read Full Post »

Steve Brown was one of my seminary professors.  I like Steve, but by the end of the final semester I needed a break from his stories.  He kept telling a number of the same stories.  I could still tell some of them to you (and I suspect he’d say that was the point).

As I listen to Tim Keller I find the same pattern.  There are a number of illustrations he keeps returning to.  I’m  beginning to see the wisdom of this.  These stories/illustrations become a part of us too.  They allow the truth to sink deeper into us (or harden us if we begin to tune them out). 

Early in my ministry I referred back to Les Miserables often.  I love that movie!  I am captivated by the movement of grace in Jean Val-Jean’s life, and the folly of legalism in Javert’s life.  I remember some people complaining that I used it too much (I’m sure Steve & Tim get the same complaints), but I was trying to point them to the workings of grace.  Some were being hardened, perhaps.  Maybe I needed to keep some Les Miserables stories in my bag of illustrations.

But I think the point is we don’t have to be innovative in our approach to illustrations.  Some of the best ones can be repeated in the hopes that they sink deeper in people’s consciousness.  I told one about my grandmother yesterday, and it had the same powerful effect it has had each time I’ve used it before.  Lightbulbs went on for people.  Grace hit home, for which I am eternally grateful.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »