Archive for the ‘Websites I Visit’ Category

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….

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There seems to be lots of confusion about what it means to be missional.  I don’t pretend to be an expert.  But I think the Acts 29 Network provides a good summary of what it means.

 “We believe that our local churches must be faithful to the content of unchanging Biblical doctrine (Jude 3).” 

I’d include Galatians 1 in there.  Missional Churches have a firm grasp of the unchanging Gospel.  The content of the Great News does not change, though our understanding of it sure can.  As we mature in Christ, we should have a fuller understanding and experience of the Great News.  In other words, we should understand biblical doctrine better, and appropriate it by faith more consistently. 

“We believe that our local churches must be faithful to the continually changing context of the culture(s) in which they minister (1 Corinthians 9:19-23).”

Churches do not exist in a vacuum.  They live in a culture.  In Acts 1 Jesus tells them to wait until the Spirit comes with power, and then bring the Great News to Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and unto the ends of the earth.  Each of those places was culturally different.  That means more than they had a different language.  They had different customs, traditions, priorities and concerns.  In some ways those would reflect a biblical world view (though often flawed), and in other ways those would oppose a biblical world view.  Paul preached differently to Jews and Gentiles.  More importantly, Paul made himself indistinguishable from the culture he was in to gain a hearing.  He maintained God’s moral standards, but he was flexible on cultural issues.  Paul blended in, not sticking out like a sore thumb- except for matters of faith & practice.Missional Churches recognize that Galatians 1 & 1 Corinthians 9 are NOT at odds with one another.  We must live 1 Corinthians 9 in order to bring Galatians 1 to our communities.  This means a church in Bithlo, FL will not look like one in Seattle, WA or Los Angeles.  That is because their cultures are different. 

“We believe that our mission is to bring people into church so that they can be trained to go out into their culture as effective missionaries.” 

Here is the main difference that sets Missional Churches apart.  Traditional and Contemporary Churches tend to have a “come and see” attitude.  They have speciel evangelistic events, or a seeker service.  They invite or attract the lost to come and hear the Gospel.  Missional Churches send their people out, after equipping them, to bring the Gospel to the lost.  This is part of recognizing the cultural shift that has been taking place in many places in our nation and the world.  Christianity is no longer “dominant”, but has become marginalized.  We are no longer seen as the movers & shakers, but are looked down upon.  In those places, the Church must return to an early church mindset of going out to seek the lost rather than just expecting them to show up on your door because you’ve got a cool looking building with great programs. 

I guess the way I look at it, we can either spend our time whining that we are no longer a “powerful” cultural influence, or we can begin to influence the culture in a new way, by seeking the lost to bring them to faith.  Not a glamorous as having political and economic power- but more in keeping with the ministries of Jesus, Peter, Paul and the rest of the Apostles.

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A visit to the Acts 29 Network caused me to pause and ponder.  And that is about how we view ourselves.  In responding to what they believe they say:

“The short answer is that we are first Christians, second Evangelicals, third Missional, and fourth Reformed. The more lengthy answer is included below and intentionally omits some finer points of doctrine and secondary issues as we allow the elders in our local churches to operate according to their convictions on these matters. ”

They start with the broadest category, and then narrow it down.  They begin with the common ground.  They are Christians.  I like how they put the emphasis on the Body rather than what part of the Body they are. 

Then they begin to progressively distinguish themselves from other groups within the Church.They are evangelical.  This is a broad subgroup among Christians.  It is often misunderstood, but they explain what they mean in terms of the historic, doctrines they evangelicals have held (authority of Scripture, the Trinity, deity of Jesus…).  This sets them apart from mainline and other liberal expressions of Christianity (which we would say deviate from orthodoxy).


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With the help of Justin from Ekklesia 360, I got all of the technical issues sorted out.  This week’s sermon- Restoring the Peace– is now available on The Sermon Cloud.  Now that I’ve done it, I get it (understand it).  I can use the technology to enhance the material on our church web site as well.  I hope others are edified!

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I heard the song “Work” on their website.  I really liked that one.  There is a concept video for Good Monsters on YouTube.  Very strange..  that song will need a few more listens before I decide if I like it.  A fan video of Mirrors and Smoke is also there.  It is the song with Leigh Nash.  Reminds me of something that Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash would have sung.  I like the song.  They used a bunch of cartoon clips to tell a story.

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Sermon Audio had a poll asking how often you think communion should be celebrated.  Over one third favored weekly communion, and about another third picked “As the Spirit leads”.  I’m not really sure what that means, practially.

My preference is weekly.  Since it is a means of grace, I need all the grace I can get.  I don’t find the argument of it becoming too familiar, and losing it’s specialness very compelling.  If I tried to tell CavWife we should only have sex quarterly so it feels “special” she would hit me, and then talk to the elders for violating 1 Corinthians 7. 

What do you all think?  Are you with Calvin (at least weekly)?  Do you like to abstain?

Another question- are you in favor of using wine (in keeping with most confessions of faith written before the temperance movement) or juice?

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CT has on on-line review of the lastest release by Jars of Clay- Good Monsters.  Expectations are probably very high after the CCM Magazine editor labeled this a career-defining album.  Being quite the spend-thrift and trying to cut expenses to adopt, I may not get this for awhile.  But I really enjoy the band’s music and thought I’d let folks know about this review.

The bottom line for the reviewer was: “another consistently excellent album from a consistently excellent band.”  Oddly, the reviewer says that one thing that sets this album apart is its “darker musical and thematic tones”.  Maybe I’ve been listening to a different band, but Jars has always struck me like the band the Choir- lots of songs in a minor key.  These guys have not been singing about a “always joyful, always positive” brand of Christianity, but of a Jesus who stands with you in the muck and mire.  What probably sets this apart is a more confessional tone, as Dan begins to bear more of his own soul (has he been hanging out with Bono again?). 

The reviewer’s favorite Jars albums were The 11th Hour and Who We Are Instead.  My personal favorite is If I Left the Zoo.  Maybe that has more to do with it connecting with some personal trials and tribulations I was experiencing at the time.  It helped me to grieve, with hope.  My next favorite would probably be Redemption Songs or Jars of Clay.

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Reformation 21 has a new article up on Calvin and Missions.  Its purpose is to show, historically, that Reformed Theology and Calvin in particular is not opposed to missions but actually engaged in missions.  Our belief in a sovereign God does not mean we are not responsible creatures.  Rather, God has made us responsible.  God has ordained the means as well as the ends, and we are to be busy bringing the great news to every tribe, tongue, nation and language- including the guy across the street!

The Resurgence has put up RTS Orlando Professor Frank James’ paper, Calvin the Evangelist.  It is a very good read to prove that his theology did not stifle evangelism, but enabled it.

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As I noted in a previous post, the pitching staff, particularly the young guys, miss ‘Tek tremendously.  Nick Cafardo of Boston.com agrees!  During the game there are fewer mound visits, fewer in inning adjustments and the pitchers have to think more.  They have to rely more on their experience.  This will cost games in the short run.

But perhaps this will help some of them in the long run.  They will learn how to think things thru up there.  Schilling has years of experience to draw upon.  He doesn’t need ‘Tek as much (though you sometimes need someone else to see a mechanical flaw or something).  But the younger guys are making a few more mistakes, and now it costs us some games.

But again, we should think long term (hey I’m interested in winning it all this year, too).  They will be better pitchers next year.

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“Tell me who’s your friend,

and I’ll tell you who you are.”

I’ve been pondering the adage- “A man is known by his friends.” My thoughts sort of went this way- what would God say about me based on my choices in friendship, internet associations, and the way I interact about controversial issues.

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The Red Sox made a trade today for some help in the bullpen.  That is important since Manny Delcarmen is having some issues with his thumb, and Foulke was pulled from playing today.  Some say it is his back, some speculate on a trade.  No one knows.  But the trade! 

The picked up right hander Bryan Corey from the Rangers (yes, the picture is from his days as a Cub).  He was designated for assignment, though I don’t know why.  In 17 innings he’s 1-1, with an ERA of 2.60, a WHIP of 1.33, and BAA of .231.  Sounds like a decent pick-up.  They got him for Luis Mendoza.  Mr. Mendoza isn’t even mentioned on the Red Sox Prospects website.

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The Boston Globe reports that Mike Timlin is helping the young pitchers in the bullpen.  He wants to pass on what he has learned, to help them have longer, more productive careers.  I think he’s a coach in the making.

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Well, not actually.  I have seen a few of the Nooma DVDs.  But this was the first sermon of his I’d heard.  Enough Dirt for My Mule was a very good sermon.  It was faithful to the biblical text, contextualized and applicible to the circumstances of the people.  I will have to listen to more of his sermons.  You may want to get there before it gets shuffled off.

Update: I’ve since read Velvet Elvis and find it unfaithful to the biblical text and misleading in many ways.  If you search this sight for the book title, you can find my interaction with the book.  Dude be dangerous.

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At the office we recently went to High Speed internet.  But I don't want to surf at the office too much.  Weary of waiting for Verizon to get DSL service out to the house, we got Road Runner, and it is wireless.

Now I am able to enter a brave new world.  With dial-up I didn't want to waste loads of time downloading MP3s of sermons.  Now, I'm ready beginning to stream shows and download sermons.

I'm a beginner, so feel free to leave other good sites to download sermons.  Here's what I've got so far.

The White Horse Inn archives.

Desiring God Radio

Preaching the Bible: John Piper

Mark Driscoll- Mars Hill  (hit downloads on the menu)

Tim Keller

HT to the Jollyblogger for Driscoll & Keller links

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I was wonder what had happened to the Jollyblogger this week.  He's been MIA with a stomach bug.  Visit him and wish him a speedy recovery.

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