Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Karate Kid-Remake

What do you think? Worth watching or should leave the masterpiece of Daniel-Son and Mr. Miyagi alone?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Currently Reading

It has been over a month since I have posted. Most of that has been intentional in needing to focus on other more important things. With this being my first post, I figured I would share some of the books I am currently reading. The way I read books may not be the best for you, as I am a wide reader, in other words, I read many books at once. I read various subject matters which helps to keep me reading and enjoying it.

So here it goes (each book has a link for Amazon if you would like to buy the book)








Friday, October 9, 2009

Why Ethiopia?

That is the question some have asked when I tell them about our family's prayer to adopt from Ethiopia, watch this video and see the answer...

Ethiopian Orphans from Simon Scionka on Vimeo.



Props: Z

Thursday, October 8, 2009

When Trying to Convert a Non-Christian Advice

Jonathan McIntosh over at Rethink posted a video of a friend of his who is not a Christian, but gives valuable advice in how we should approach people when wanting them to meet and trust in Jesus.

I remember what it was like to be a non-believer and also what it was like for some to try to convert me in very unloving and unhelpful ways so I could not agree more with much of this wisdom as someone who has been on both sides of the fence.



Friday, October 2, 2009

True Heart-Religion Humbles

“Heart-religion is too humbling to be popular. It leaves natural man no room to boast. It tells him that he is a guilty, lost, hell-deserving sinner, and that he must flee to Christ for salvation. It tells him that he is dead, and must be made alive again, and born of the Spirit. The pride of man rebels against such tidings as these. He hates to be told that his case is so bad.”

~ J.C. Ryle

Practical Religion, “Formality”, 277

Props: J.C. Ryle Quotes

Thursday, October 1, 2009

DeYoung Reviews "Deep Church"

The buzz about "Deep Church" by Jim Belcher is growing through the Twitterverse. Like any new book now a days, it is claimed as a "must read".

Kevin DeYoung gives a good, balanced review of this book here.

Here is an excerpt:
Ah yes, another book on the emergent church. I admit I both really wanted to read this book and really didn’t. The wanting is because, as you may know, I too wrote a book on the emerging church. So naturally I was curious what another author–one with blurbs from the likes of Mark Driscoll, Tim Keller, Rob Bell, Scot McKnight, and Tony Jones–had to say about the movement.

But a big part of me didn’t want to read the book. Believe it or not, I don’t live for controversy and I don’t wake up in the morning hoping to jump back into emergenty thoughts. I spent a year of my life researching and writing about the emergent church and then another year teaching and doing interviews about it. That was enough for me. Besides, perhaps I’m naive, but I think most people can now see the emergent movement for what it is. There are enough resources out there now for people to make up their minds and decide whether this is a healthy reform movement or a conversation pushing the boundaries of evangelical faith and sometimes jumping the bounds of orthodoxy itself.

Josh Harris on Self Control

As I scrolled through my Google Reader, after checking my Facebook and Tweeting, I found this video from Josh Harris...conviction.

Miracle in Franklin

What a beautiful story of how God works through His people for His Glory and the spread of His name and love.


Props: Z

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Fight Against Lust

By Faith magazine has a great article called, Lust: A Life and Death Matter. I highly recommend that you check it out.

Here is a great excerpt on one of the outcomes lust has:

Second, lust distorts our vision and leads us to see people as objects instead of what they are—unique masterpieces created in God’s image


Friday, September 25, 2009

A Filthy Sponge

What a picture of the love of Jesus on the Cross and new look at an overlooked moment during Jesus' crucifixtion.

From The Resurgence:
Here’s a video clip of Pastor Mark from the first sermon of Mars Hill’s new series, Luke's Gospel: Investigating the Man Who Is God:

Friday, September 18, 2009

Drawn Into The Gospel Includes Suffering

Zach posted this quote, and the more I hear about A Praying Life, the more I desire to read it.

Doug Wolter:
Paul Miller’s book, A Praying Life, has affected me deeply. I cannot recommend it to you highly enough. Here’s one section that grabbed a hold of me and hasn’t let go for days. Next to this quote in the side margin of my book I wrote, “need to meditate on this.”

Whenever you love, you reenact Jesus’ death. Consequently, gospel stories always have suffering in them. American Christianity has an allergic reaction to this part of the gospel. We’d love to hear about God’s love for us, but suffering doesn’t mesh with our right to “the pursuit of happiness.” So we pray to escape a gospel story, when that is the best gift the Father can give us.

The Father wants to draw us into the story of his Son. He doesn’t have a better story to tell, so he keeps retelling it in our lives. As we reenact the gospel, we are drawn into a strange kind of fellowship. The taste of Christ is so good that the apostle Paul told the Philippians that he wanted to know “the fellowship of sharing in [Jesus'] sufferings” (Phil. 3:10).

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Christianity Is Against Individualism

This quote is good prep for this coming Tuesday at The Well as we will look at the community that came from Acts 2.

From A Brick In The Valley

Cornelius Plantinga:

Christianity is against individualism. In the Old Testament God made his covenant with Abraham and his descendents, with a whole people. We now baptize persons not because they are individual believers or even because they belong to a family of believers, but because they belong to the extended family of believers – - the people of God. We are all baptized into this community, into a body that existed long before we did. We did not join this body. We are called into it.

When God’s people are called out of the world, they called into fellowship, into what the New Testament calls koinonia. Good words are associated with koinonia: “common,” “commune,” “commonwealth,” “community,” and “communion. We were called into koinonia, which means we have something in common with other believers.

Rather we have someone in common. . . . But, always it is Jesus Christ who is the fount of blessing, the broken bread, the life-giving vine, the head of the body. We belong to him – - and thus to each other. (Beyond Doubt, pages 116-117, emphasis his).

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

J.C. Ryle: Hold The Here and Now Loosely

“Are you prosperous in the world? Have death, sickness, disappointment, poverty, and family troubles passed over your door up to this time and not come in? Are you secretly saying to yourself, ‘Nothing can hurt me much. I shall die quietly in my bed and see no sorrow.’ Take care.”

“You are not yet in harbor. A sudden storm of unexpected trouble may make you change your note. Set not your affection on things below. Hold them with a very loose hand and be ready to surrender them at a moment’s notice. Use your prosperity well while you have it; but lean not all your weight on it, lest it break suddenly and pierce your hand.”

~ J.C. Ryle

Practical Religion, “Our Home”, 396.


This quote reminds me of what Pastor Ryan Kelly preached about this past Sunday at Desert Springs on worrying over what others think and over possessions.

Click here for that message


Props on Quote: J.C. Ryle Quotes

Religion vs Gospel

Last night at The Well I mentioned the distinctions between religion and The Gospel. I read from a list that comes from Tim Keller of what marks religion and what marks The Gospel. Below is some of the distinctions that comes from Tim Keller that has been compiled by The Journey Church in St. Louis.

Click here for the pdf. version.

Here is a few of the distinctions:
Religion
“I obey-therefore I’m accepted.”

Gospel
“I’m accepted-therefore I obey.”

Religion
Motivation is based on fear and insecurity.

Gospel
Motivation is based on grateful joy.

Religion
I obey God in order to get things from God

Gospel
I obey God to get to God-to delight and resemble Him.

Religion
When circumstances in my life go wrong, I am angry at God or my self, since I believe, like Job’s friends that anyone who is good deserves a comfortable life.

Gospel
When circumstances in my life go wrong, I struggle but I know all my punishment fell on Jesus and that while he may allow this for my training, he will exercise his Fatherly love within my trial.

Religion
When I am criticized I am furious or devastated because it is critical that I think of myself as a ‘good person’. Threats to that self-image must be destroyed at all costs.

Gospel
When I am criticized I struggle, but it is not critical for me to think of myself as a ‘good person.’ My identity is not built on my record or my performance but on God’s love for me in Christ. I can take criticism. That’s how I became a Christian.

Click Here for the Rest

Props: Reformissionary

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

David Brooks on Our Self Congratulavie Culture

David Brooks is a columnist from the N.Y. Times. He is very insightful and witty as well. The excerpt below is from a column he wrote pertaining to how our country has gone from a humble and modest country to one full of ego driven, me-centric self worshipers.

I agree that the rise of the self-esteem "savior" has led to a generation and culture full of self lovers that are very vocal about it. However, I do not want to have a "good ole days" mentality. Brooks talks about the humble that came out of WWII, we also must remember that this humble nation had seperate schools for whites and blacks. We need to learn from the past, good and bad, that means taking of the rose colored glasses of our current era and past eras as well.

Here is an excerpt from the Column:

Today, immodesty is as ubiquitous as advertising, and for the same reasons. To scoop up just a few examples of self-indulgent expression from the past few days, there is Joe Wilson using the House floor as his own private “Crossfire”; there is Kanye West grabbing the microphone from Taylor Swift at the MTV Video Music Awards to give us his opinion that the wrong person won; there is Michael Jordan’s egomaniacal and self-indulgent Hall of Fame speech. Baseball and football games are now so routinely interrupted by self-celebration, you don’t even notice it anymore.

This isn’t the death of civilization. It’s just the culture in which we live. And from this vantage point, a display of mass modesty, like the kind represented on the V-J Day “Command Performance,” comes as something of a refreshing shock, a glimpse into another world. It’s funny how the nation’s mood was at its most humble when its actual achievements were at their most extraordinary.
Click Here to Read the Rest

Reason Enough To Add HBO

6 Essentials of College Ministry

Working in college ministry for over 2 years now, I could not agree more with these 6 essentials. Especially with #1, Jesus cannot be overlooked or understated in college ministry. He is our source of life, redemption and eternal joy, we cannot act like He is just a means to an end or that Christianity is about moralism and duty.

From The Resurgence:

1. Don't confuse the gospel with religion
To prevent doing this, talk about Jesus (who he is and what he has done) all the time. If you don't, students will think Christianity is really about something else, like morality, philosophy, piety, social justice, or a religious experience. If you start talking more about what they should do instead of what Jesus has done, you're preaching another gospel (Gal. 1:6-9), which is to put heavy burdens on them (Matt. 23:2-4).

2. Learn about sexual assault
The prevalence of sexual assault is staggering. At least 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men are or will be victims of sexual assault in their lifetime. And the numbers are much worse for college students. These young women and men feel crippling shame, deep guilt, and painfully alone because of what has been done to them.

3. Teach students how to read and interpret the Bible for themselves
This means being clear on the relationship between the law and the gospel. The law is "perfect, true, and righteous altogether" (Psalm 19:7-9) and "holy, just, and good" (Rom. 7:12), but it does not effect what it demands (Gal. 3:21). The good news is that on the cross Jesus took our penalty of law-breaking and fulfilled the law, so he could give us his righteousness. God then works in us to will and to do his good pleasure (Phil. 2:13). The very law that condemns us becomes the very thing that God fulfills in us through the power of his Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:18-23), not through our effort (Gal. 3:1-3).

4. Be prepared to comfort students because of divorce and death
College students are at a phase in life where their parents seem to get divorced, if they aren't already, now that their children are leaving home. This is also the age when grandparents begin to die.

5. Study apologetics
Many students still have brain cells left, and they've been reading and thinking about their world. They have legitimate questions about who Jesus is and what he did and why he isn't just a good example. They want to know why they should trust the Bible as reliable. The immense suffering in the world makes them doubt either the goodness or power of God or both. They think Christians are hypocrites and bigots, so why should they become one?

6. Be prepared to counsel students about what they're really facing
You must be prepared to counsel about eating disorders, pornography, cutting, abusive relationships, and the lingering damage of sexual sin. College students tend to be the shock-absorbers of the myths our cultural sells. Idols are brutal slave masters.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Has Conservatism Become An Idol?


Before I get any deeper, I want to say I am not political, I do not talk about my political views or leanings. I do not watch C-Span, Fox News, MSNBC and consider myself neither to be a red state or a blue state person. I love Jesus, He is my King and He is my message,hope and life. So to quote Mark Driscoll, "I vote for Jesus!"

With that said, Jon McIntosh, has started a new website and ministry called ReThink Mission. In it he talks about cultural engagement, church planting and gospel centric living. Recently he blogged about how Conservative politics has in many circles (especially the Bible Belt) become synonymous with the Gospel.

I could not agree more with Jon's cautions and exhortation to not confuse a political position with the gospel of Jesus Christ. So often today Jesus is not a stumbling block, because the "moral majority" has already tripped up and angered people.

If you have ever used the words "Jesus" and "Republican" in the same sentence please read Jon's cautions, as well as a 2nd clarification post he offers.

Below is a excerpt of his post:

When political conservatism is confused for Christianity:
1. It creates false assurance: many who are not Christians wrongly assume that they are simply because of their conservative vote.

2. It makes enemies out of friends: Christians forget that “we do not wrestle against flesh and blood” and make enemies out of anyone who disagrees with their political ideology.

3. It becomes a barrier to mission: political liberals who are not Christians are given the idea that to embrace the gospel of Jesus means to become a conservative. Naturally they pass on this. But the wrong “gospel” has been presented to them – thus many haven’t even rejected the gospel at all, only a highly politicized version of it.

4. The wrong gospel is passed to the next generation: In training our children to be good conservatives instead of grace-filled believers, we help harden their hearts to the gospel. I grew up in a church that did a better job teaching me to be a political conservative than a lover of Jesus Christ. That was a church that was easy to leave.

Read the rest here..

Also read his clarification to some of his original points here.

Creativity and Joy All Point Somewhere

...why is this so cool?

...why do we get excited when there is something creative and full of energy and joy, like this video?

It is because we are made in the image of a creative God who even in our sin we have traits and pointers in how we create and express ourselves that showcase Him.

Don't fool yourself by thinking this is just a cool "routine" or this is for the church of Oprah, God's common grace is being seen in His creation and He receives all glory for this. We may surpress the Truth of this, but there has to be a higher reason why there is something that finds beauty, joy and excitement in displays of creativity. Random chance and molecules cannot explain it away...


Props: LosWhit

Monday, September 7, 2009

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Preview of Luke Series for Mars HIll

Mark Driscoll, pastor at Mars Hill Church, will be starting a series on the Gospel According to Luke. Part of the series has been filmed in the region of Israel and Palestine that Jesus actually walked and did ministry.

If you are interested in check this coming sermon out check out Mars Hill Albuquerque, where this series will be seen via video.

Truth On Campus

From Think Christianly:
“There is one thing a professor can be absolutely certain of: almost every student entering the university believes, or says he believes, that truth is relative.”—Allan Bloom

“To say of what is that it is not, or of what is not that it is, is false, while to say of what is that it is, and of what it is not that it is not, is true.”—Aristotle

“…You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free”—Jesus

“If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end: if you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth—only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin with and, in the end, despair”—C.S. Lewis

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Serving Is Not An End

At times we can get caught up with how serving and doing this or that for the cause of Christ is the end. John Piper shares how it is not the end, it is a means to grow deeper in the knowledge and fear of the Lord, and the dangers that exist if we make it an end.



Props: Desiring God

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Motions


I am praying that this song, The Motions by Matthew West, is our anthem for The Well. As we fight just going through the motions of ministry this year. That our all-consuming passion is Jesus, to love, follow, obey and make His name known to the city and campus. That our lives would be lived in such a way that He is all people see with how we risk and love.

That's my prayer for 2009-2010, I don't want to look back in May and say, "I wasted it."

Listen to this song, the story of Matthew West is a story of God's grace and love.

I was so stoked on this song that I bought his album, Something to Say, which is really good and worth a purchase. My buddy Zach also used to play with Matthew so that helped me like it even more.

Click here to purchase via Amazon

Also Check Out Matthew's Myspace

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Matt Chandler on The Gap of Eternity

Matt Chandler, Pastor of The Village Church in Dallas, talks about our yearning and falling short of the eternal. Sports, money and fame all fall short and leave us thinking, "there's gotta be more".

For full message from Resurgence's Text and Context conference, click here.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Listen to The New Imogen Heap Album Here

Imogen Heap is for sure one of my favorite artists and her new album will be coming out August 25th, but you can listen to it today right here:

Props: Zach

Monday, August 17, 2009

Pics From 4th Anniversary Trip

On July 30th Lauren and I celebrated our 4th Anniversary. It has been an amazing ride and I am so blessed to be married to such a woman. Below are some pics from our overnight trip we took to Santa Fe. We stayed in a really cool, historic hotel right on the plaza and had an awesome view from our balcony

Also there is a pic of 2 little blessings that have come from our marriage, and yes there is a 3rd one on the way :)

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Learning To Be Still...

I am not a fan of being sick, who is? It is not the feeling of being sick that makes me dislike it so. It is not even having to go to the doctor. What I hate most about it, if I am honest with myself, is that it slows me down.

I am a worker, I am task driven person, I like to be doing projects, I like to work. Being sick impairs that. Being sick gives me days like today where the day consisted of a doctor’s visit and time in bed. This is not good for a busy, important guy like myself. I am supposed to speak at the DSC’s men’s retreat on Saturday morning and staying in bed all day does not help me prepare.

Then I read a tweet from John Piper:
“God will be up all night tonight keeping watch. And he never gets tired. Not even a little bit. (Psalm 121:3).”
Conviction.

I don’t like being sick cause it reminds me I am not God. I am a creature who is fully dependent on God. I am a weak, broken creature who is more broken on the inside from sin than any illness that medicine can fix. I need to learn to “be still” and know He is God, and that I am not. And because God loves me, and is near in times of joy and pain, He helps me at times, by bringing sickness so that I stop, listen and rest in the love and care of Him. In those times He reminds me who He is, and who I'm not. As Piper said, He stays up, doesn't get tired, not even a bit. He is sufficient, He is my rock, He is my redeemer, He is sure!

So do I like being sick, nope. Do I see God in the sickness, yep. Can I praise God for this time to be quiet and trust in Him and Him alone, by His grace, yes!!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Piper: What should a married couple do after a spouse has cheated?

John Piper answers a question that is becoming sadly more and more common today, what to do after an affair? Notice how Piper does not talk about divorce, but instead emphasizes reconciliation and restoration. Plus I really appreciate Piper's description of the difference between forgiveness and regaining trust. It is realistic and not sugar coated, in other words healing will be hard, but the gospel redeems and restores us from even this dark sin.

For more John Piper resources click here

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

A Guest of Vitamin Z


This week Zach Nielsen (Vitamin Z) will be at Worship 09, a conference for music ministers and pastors. He has asked me along with several other more qualified people to be guest bloggers for his blog. I would encourage you to check out his blog, Take Your Vitamin Z.

Summer Camp for Atheists

From Jonathan Morrow:
Atheistic summer camps? Yep. Check out this short 2 minute video clip. One thing stuck out to me that I whole heartily agree with: "students should be taught how to think not just what to think." How do you think the students in your youth group would fare in a conversation with the next generation of atheists? Are they being prepared?

Unlikely Disciple, Unlikely Experience


What is it like to be a liberally minded, ivy league student in the middle of one of America’s most conservative, evangelical colleges? That is the question Kevin Roose took on in his book “The Unlikely Disciple”. In the book Roose describes his semester attending Liberty University and posing as an evangelical Christian. It is a story of someone from the “outside” invading the right-wing, Fox News watching, purity ring wearing, alcohol abstaining world of Jerry Falwell and the so called “Moral Majority”.

Kevin Roose is not an evangelical, in fact he attends Brown University, which is a liberal, ivy league school, where even talks of Liberty and Falwell bring about cringes and talk of in-toleration. Roose described his expectations of attending Liberty with thoughts of the stereotypical conservative Christian personas. What he found was unexpected.

Roose did find those who were very much against gay marriage and abortion. That much he expected. What he did not expect was to find a community of people who had struggles with faith and with living a life that was pursuing purity and was God honoring. Nor was he expecting to find a community who loved and cared for each other, who shared each others burdens and faced persecution and mocking on the beaches of Daytona as they talked to people about The Gospel.

Kevin Roose is a very talented writer and this book was very compelling and hard to put down. As an evangelical Christian who came from much of the same background as Kevin, minus the ivy league status, I understood a lot of what Kevin was experiencing. The Christian community at times is confusing, it is hard to understand why people would live like they do, struggle like they do, and even face mockers like they do, unless you see what it has as its’ foundation, Jesus Christ. At the end of the book Kevin does not become a Christian, he is not now on tour with Mercy Me, but he is praying, albeit to an unknown god. He did go back and confess his deceiving ways to his dorm-mates, only to find love and forgiveness... hmm they must have some sort of role model who is good at that.

I would recommend this book to Christians and urge the reader to try to put themselves in Kevin’s shoes. It is at times easy to get defensive about some of the things that Kevin writes, but overall this book is not a slam on Christianity at all. Kevin even talks about some of the unease he experienced when being questioned by his lesbian aunts, who were worried about him being brainwashed.

Kevin also shares a side of Jerry Falwell that many who only know him as a bigoted, intolerant man would be shocked at. Kevin actually got one of the last interviews before Falwell’s death. In the interview, Kevin saw a loving, caring and calmer side of Jerry that seemed to shock him and help tear down some stereotyping. That seemed to be the biggest theme throughout the book, tearing down stereotypes.

All in all the book is a great eye opening view of how the world views Christians, especially fundamental, conservative ones. I found myself praying for God to change Kevin’s heart and that Kevin would see that Christianity is not about morals, or intolerance, but about Jesus. About a God who does not demand sacrifices, but became one for us, took our punishment and died as a criminal the way we should have. Sadly I think that was what seemed to be missing most from his experience, a good explanation of some of the depths and beauty of the Gospel.

Below is a video excerpt to help further explain:
What is it like to be a liberally minded, ivy league student in the middle of one of America’s most conservative, evangelical colleges? That is the question Kevin Roose took on in his book “The Unlikely Disciple”. In the book Roose describes his semester attending Liberty University and posing as an evangelical Christian. It is a story of someone from the “outside” invading the right-wing, Fox News watching, purity ring wearing, alcohol abstaining world of Jerry Falwell and the so called “Moral Majority”.

Kevin Roose is not an evangelical, in fact he attends Brown University, which is a liberal, ivy league school, where even talks of Liberty and Falwell bring about cringes and talk of in-toleration. Roose described his expectations of attending Liberty with thoughts of the stereotypical conservative Christian personas. What he found was unexpected.

Roose did find those who were very much against gay marriage and abortion. That much he expected. What he did not expect was to find a community of people who had struggles with faith and with living a life that was pursuing purity and was God honoring. Nor was he expecting to find a community who loved and cared for each other, who shared each others burdens and faced persecution and mocking on the beaches of Daytona as they talked to people about The Gospel.

Kevin Roose is a very talented writer and this book was very compelling and hard to put down. As an evangelical Christian who came from much of the same background as Kevin, minus the ivy league status, I understood a lot of what Kevin was experiencing. The Christian community at times is confusing, it is hard to understand why people would live like they do, struggle like they do, and even face mockers like they do, unless you see what it has as its’ foundation, Jesus Christ. At the end of the book Kevin does not become a Christian, he is not now on tour with Mercy Me, but he is praying, albeit to an unknown god. He did go back and confess his deceiving ways to his dorm-mates, only to find love and forgiveness... hmm they must have some sort of role model who is good at that.

I would recommend this book to Christians and urge the reader to try to put themselves in Kevin’s shoes. It is at times easy to get defensive about some of the things that Kevin writes, but overall this book is not a slam on Christianity at all. Kevin even talks about some of the unease he experienced when being questioned by his lesbian aunts, who were worried about him being brainwashed.

Kevin also shares a side of Jerry Falwell that many who only know him as a bigoted, intolerant man would be shocked at. Kevin actually got one of the last interviews before Falwell’s death. In the interview, Kevin saw a loving, caring and calmer side of Jerry that seemed to shock him and help tear down some stereotyping. That seemed to be the biggest theme throughout the book, tearing down stereotypes.

All in all the book is a great eye opening view of how the world views Christians, especially fundamental, conservative ones. I found myself praying for God to change Kevin’s heart and that Kevin would see that Christianity is not about morals, or intolerance, but about Jesus. About a God who does not demand sacrifices, but became one for us, took our punishment and died as a criminal the way we should have. Sadly I think that was what seemed to be missing most from his experience, a good explanation of some of the depths and beauty of the Gospel.

Click Here to order book.

Below is a video excerpt to help further explain:

Monday, August 3, 2009

Piper Gives Advice for Back to School

Heading to college can be an overwhelming and challenging experience for a Christian. How do you answer the tough questions? How do you think through philosophies that seem to compete for attention with God's Word?

John Piper offers some great advice here:

Thursday, July 30, 2009

4 Years Of Blessing and Marriage to Lauren


Lauren Icenogle was in 1st and 2nd grade with me. I can truly say that I did not notice her all that much those days. I was more concerned with soccer and running away from the ladies then looking for a girlfriend.

After elementary we lost contact. Ok we did not really have contact in elementary, but still. We went to different middle schools, high schools and colleges.

It would not be until Aug.15th, 2003 when we would meet again. I was a new Christian that had just ended a very bad relationship with another girl that day, in search of Christian friends. She was a Christian raised in the church who was back from college also looking for friends. We both arrived as first time visitors to Calvary’s college group, called G.A.P.P. (or something similar). She had a Reliant K t-shirt on which for me signified that she was probably someone who knew her way around the church, so I could just follow her to figure out how to get to the room the group was meeting in. I was wrong. Lauren being new too, wandered all over the church looking for this group with me following her, thankfully she did not pull out the pepper spray.

It would not be for a couple more weeks until we really got to talk and meet.

And the rest...you know, is history.

There is a lot more to the story of how we got to where we are today, but I will always treasure that night, Lauren and I call it ‘the night I followed that girl in the Reliant K t-shirt.”

6 years later we celebrate our 4 year wedding anniversary.

I love her today more than I could have thought possible on the day we married, and more then even a year ago.

Lauren is a gentle, loving woman who I am so blessed to have as a wife.

She is a beautiful and Godly woman who loves Jesus more than me.

She is a patient and caring mother to Jordyn and Brayden, and I have no doubt will be the same with the new Griego due in November.

She is trusting and encouraging as she follows my lead at home and in our future prayers and plans to plant a church in downtown Albuquerque.

In short, Lauren is an evident sign of God’s Blessing and Grace in my life, and today I praise the Lord for 4 years together and if He wills many, many more!!

An excellent wife who can find?
She is far more precious than jewels. Proverbs 31:10

I married her 4 years ago, and she is far, far more precious!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Francis Chan Has New Book Coming Out

Pastor of Cornerstone Simi Valley Church, Francis Chan has a new book coming out about the role and authority of the Holy Spirit called, Forgotten God: Reversing Our Tragic Neglect of the Holy Spirit.

If you have followed this blog or been to The Well you know how much I have endorsed Chan's first book "Crazy Love". So I am very much looking forward to this next book, especially since we will be studying the book of Acts this coming year at The Well.

Here is a video preview:


And further explanation
A follow up to the profound message of Crazy Love, Pastor Francis Chan offers a compelling invitation to understand, embrace, and follow the Holy Spirit’s direction in our lives.

In the name of the Father, the Son, and … the Holy Spirit. We pray in the name of all three, but how often do we live with an awareness of only the first two? As Jesus ascended into heaven, He promised to send the Holy Spirit—the Helper—so that we could be true and living witnesses for Christ. Unfortunately, today’s church has admired the gift but neglected to open it.

Breakthrough author Francis Chan rips away paper and bows to get at the true source of the church’s power—the Holy Spirit. Chan contends that we’ve ignored the Spirit for far too long, and we are reaping the disastrous results. Thorough ural support and compelling narrative form Chan’s invitation to stop and remember the One we’ve forgotten, the Spirit of the living God.
Props: Vitamin Z

Peyton Manning Has Big Influence

I mean big influence...


Props: M. Kelley

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Hospitality Is Not Optional

“Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.” (Romans 12: 9-13, ESV)

I can remember walking into Desert Springs Church as an “outsider” as a former Catholic who had not wanted anything to do with church or “organized religion” for the past 5 years or so. I was a college student. I was new to this whole Christian church thing. I was overwhelmed and really confused.

“Why is there screens?”
“Does the priest here wear a robe?”
“Why are we singing so much?”

More than that I was petrified about what people would think. From an outsiders’ perspective Christianity is full of really moral, uptight and right wing people, well at least from this outsider’s perspective. I was petrified about what people would think about my life style. I was not pure. I was not home schooled. I was not Republican. I was not a straight edge kid, I had tattoos, tattoos that represented other religions, tattoos that did not in someway tell a Biblical story or have scripture included. I was usually hungover on Sundays, not singing or listening to a preacher.

What would people think...would I be welcomed or looked down on?

I think it was a kind of in between feeling after that first Sunday. I had a couple people come up to shake my hand, but I sat alone. I am naturally a shy guy, especially in new situations, so this was a totally overwhelming experience. I left the church, a bit confused by all that happened and still felt like an outsider. That feeling would remain for the next year.

It was not until someone at The Well, the new college ministry DSC had started, remembered my name did I begin to feel welcomed. That took a year. A year of Sunday attendance, a year of feeling like a round peg in a square hole.

Why did I keep coming back? Because I kept feeling this is what God wanted me to do, no other reason really.

My whole world changed though when someone remembered my name, when someone took the time to get to know me and my story. I felt part of the church. I felt welcomed. I felt love.

Could I have done more to get involved on my own? Yeah, probably, but honestly as a newcomer it was not my job to do that, nor to be honest did I know how to. It was the community of God who I was surrounded by every Sunday who needed to be the ones who reached out to me. And when that happened I felt love, the kinda love that the church is supposed to be. I just wish it had been faster than a year.

It is 6 years later. I am now on staff at Desert Springs. I am in fact the director of The Well. It is 6 years later and I often have forgotten what it is like to be a visitor, to be someone who does not know lots of people. I have forgotten what it is like to enter the building and be overwhelmed and feel unwelcomed and ignored.

I need to remember what that is like. I need to realize that it is on me as a Desert Springs member to seek out to show love and honor to guests and to all people in the church. This is not an option. This is not a “thing” to put on my to do list, this is a gospel implication type of thing.

We love, we show honor, we abhor evil because that is how we are to respond to the grace we have been given and love that has overwhelmed us from Jesus Christ. Jesus loves the unlovely (us), Jesus died to bring us into the family of God. None of us have any merit to stand on, no pedigree to flaunt over each other. We all have only the blood of Jesus to claim as our means to coming into the family to forever be with Jesus.

We are called to love like we have been loved, we are called to seek to love, to intentionally seek it out. To fail to do this is a fail of understanding the gospel.

If you are one of those who have felt unwelcomed, and unloved, take this as an apology. We are imperfect, we are messy, we will fail at this again. We forget about our mission and our calling to love others. We are in process. We are sinners saved by grace in the daily need of the blood of Jesus too.

For those of us who are members, who are “connected” and part of the family of God. May we repent of our self centered times when we seek comfort and ease over meeting someone new that may be a bit awkward. May we repent of our neglect of loving others and connecting them with the rest of our family cause we are too lazy or ignorant to do so. May we repent of our lack of love and honor to others.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Acting and Waiting On The Lord

John Piper talks about the tension between what it means to "wait on the Lord" and when it is time to take action.


For more John Piper media go to DesiringGod.Org

Friday, July 24, 2009

Resurgence: Masculinity Reclaimed

Over at Resurgence.Com they have just finished a great series about redeeming Biblical masculinity. Here is a good quote from the series.
Ladies in our churches, young and old, are not as horrified by an emphasis on reaching men as one might expect. Ultimately our women don't want to be surrounded by a crowd of wusses or a bunch of bullies. Biblical masculinity is such a rare commodity that women are usually attracted to it rather than repulsed (though this may surprise them at first).

The Restoration of So Much More

This quote goes well with yesterday's post:

“The object of the work of redemption is not limited to the salvation of individual sinners, but extends itself to the redemption of the world, and to the organic reunion of all things in heaven and on earth under Christ as their original head.

The final outcome of the future, foreshadowed in the Holy Scriptures, is not the merely spiritual existence of saved souls, but the restoration of the entire cosmos, when God will be all in all under the renewed heaven on the renewed earth.”

—Abraham Kuyper, Lectures on Calvinism (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson 2008), 105-106
Props: Of First Importance

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Something Really Worth Getting Excited About


Wolverine, Star Trek, Up!, Transformers 2 and Harry Potter are all this summer’s “blockbusters”. The question is now that all of these have come out is, how has life changed?

I remember a few years ago “Superman Returns” came out, and I was counting down the days before its release. I would watch the previews over and over again just getting more and more stoked. The movie was good, I enjoyed it, but honestly I can say even though I have it on DVD I have not watched it in a quite a few months.

I think the same can and will be said of these past summer’s movies. We don’t think about that though when they come out, do we? We are stoked, we will count the days down, we will re-watch the other movies in the series if it is a sequel, we may even read the books the movies are based on. Fast food stores will load us down with toys and commemorative glasses in high anticipation of the upcoming flick. On opening day we may even stand in line or save seats for hours on end, we will wait 12 hours to see a 2 hour movie.

I think if we are honest with ourselves we end with a bit of disappointment. Nothing is truly gained by all this anticipation and waiting, we are just left being amused for a couple hours by robots, wizards, aliens or mutants. Soon enough in fact we are thirsting and counting down for the next big movie.

We are addicts. We are in constant search for our next entertainment high. We act if not flat out think that this movie will be “awesome”, “life changing”, or at least by our actions worth spending a huge amount of time waiting for or thinking about.

In the end we are left wanting and wandering...

There is a bigger story though, that does give us reason to wait with excitement. Although this coming, does not have a countdown on it, or at least a countdown that we know. This coming will be unlike any movie, for when it comes everyone will notice and everyone will be eternally changed.

I am referring to the second coming of Jesus Christ, our great King. When He comes all of life will be transformed, wrongs will be made right. Pain will be wiped off the earth. Tears will be no more. Disease? Gone. Sin, banished. Satan, fully defeated.

The sad reality is, is that for one group, those who have put their hope in Jesus and his atoning work on the cross that day will be joyful. For the group that hasn’t it will be the day of judgment where they will be declared guilty, and because they do not have Jesus as their wrath-bearing savior, they will take on God’s full wrath for their sin.

So for those who have trusted in Jesus, movies are good to watch, but we wait for something better. For those who don’t movies really are in some ways as good as it gets.

There is still time for all who are reading this to turn and trust in Jesus. To see their sin and rebellion before a Holy God and see that Jesus took on that punishment if we would just believe and trust. To see, love and follow King Jesus!

Should You Talk About The Gospel In Every Sermon?

From John Piper and Matt Chandler:

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

N.T. Wright Discusses Blogging

N.T. Wright offers some very good and convicting comments concerning blogging and its' power to suck you in and isolate you.

I have been thinking about this recently and am still praying about what limits or fasts I need to take for my own soul's sake, I submit you do likewise.

NT Wright on Blogging/Social Media from Bill Kinnon on Vimeo.

This is NT Wright's response to my question on his opinion of blogging during Imbi Medri-Kinnon's interview shoot with the Bishop of Durham in 2007. Portions of this interview appear in her documentary, Mind the Gap - where she looks at the challenge for church leadership in the 21st Century.


Intellectual Property/Copyright: This video may be embedded on blog posts where this particular topic is being discussed. Permission is NOT given to re-edit this or use it in any other context other than as a standalone video with the MKPL bug, opening and closing.

Props: Thinklings

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Remember The Heart

Very well done video, very convicting..

Props: Holiday @ The Sea

Messy Heroes Lifting Up a Great God: George Whitefield


As fallen human beings we at times can get caught up in allowing our heroes to become larger than life and better than reality. This can especially be true of our Christian heroes. We can get caught up in putting people on pedestals and ignoring sin and flaws in them.

One of the “heroes” of the faith in Church history is George Whitefield (1714-1770). Whitefield lived during the Great Awakening in North America and preached as well in his home country England. He preached before Jonathan Edwards another of the “heroes” of the faith.

Whitefield preached before thousands of people. He did this without a mic or jumbotron. He did it outside while people openly mocked him and at times worked to distract his listeners.

Whitefield was used by God in might ways in brining many people to salvation. He was a powerfully gifted teacher. Even people who did not believe what he was preaching would even stop to listen such as Benjamin Franklin, who found it delightful to listen to him preach even though he was not a Christian in the least bit.

Whitefield refused to sugarcoat messages, he refused to hold back passion. He was so expressive that often he has been accused of acting and being fake about his emotions. Whitefield’s answer to that was to say that when he looked at actors who were passionate about fake stuff, how much more should he be passionate about real stuff, and eternally and infinetly more important things.

Whitefield though was flawed. Whitefield supported the slavery movement in America. Whitefield was a sinner saved by grace. Whitefield was messy.

Our “heroes” no matter who you name are imperfect to one degree to another. We need to take off the rose colored glasses when we approach history. We need to see that while these men are in many ways worthy of imitation, we only imitate and follow them as they follow Christ.

Ultimately we only follow Jesus. He was not messy. He had no imperfections according to God’s standards.

Let’s be real about our “heroes” so that as the book of Hebrews says we can look at the ultimate, perfect one, Jesus.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1-2 (emphasis mine)

For an amazing biography sketch of George Whitefield check out John Piper’s talk about him that he delivered at this past year’s Desiring God’s Pastor Conference. It is well worth the 90 minutes to watch or listen to.

Click Here to Watch

Click Here to Listen

For more biographies given by John Piper click here

Monday, July 20, 2009

Fear

Proverbs 29:25
The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe.

If someone were to ask me what I believe to be one of the biggest sins that we face as young adults I think the fear of man would top the list. I have found that many people live a life that is marked by an evident fear of how they are perceived or how their reputation is affected.

A good example of what I am talking about is this past Tuesday night at The Well. We spent the night at a local park where we had volleyball, soccer and basketball along with other various activities. We were all having a great time, then we gathered for a time of singing and listening to God’s Word. Here is where the atmosphere of the night changed. Instead of energy and smiles all around, now there was a sense of awkwardness that seemed to take over. We were scared to sing in public!

“What if someone heard how tone deaf I am? What if the neighbors over at the playground areas laughed at me? I better not be too loud or too expressive, that would be embarrassing.”

I am sure that went through peoples’ minds, I know it did mine. Why is that? Simple, we are afraid of what others think more than we are of what God thinks.

I mean we had the beautiful Sandia Mountains in front of us, an amazing sunset to the left of us. The Heavens were screaming “Glory!!! Glory!!!” and yet we were afraid for our friend to hear our voice. We were overcome by what others think more than what He thought and heard.

Our lives and culture are marked by this fear.

Why do we buy $40 T-Shirts with the name of the store we got it at on it?

Why do we shop at The Buckle for $100 jeans and not Wal-Mart?

Why are we afraid to tell our friends about a Holy God who they have offended, and how the ONLY way to salvation is through Jesus Christ??

We are petrified of others’ perception of us.

It is the same reason that the people of Israel wanted a king. They wanted to be like the nations around them, they wanted to fit in. They had a King, the King of Kings leading them and loving them, but they wanted something that made them blend in, something that made them fit in.

We do too.

By nature we are man-fearing creatures. This changes though in a beautiful way when we are saved. No longer are we enslaved to the views of this world or of those around us. We have had our eyes open to the beauty, Holiness and majesty of our Great God, the One, whose opinion of us really does matter. We begin to see how He sees. We see our sin and unworthiness and are brought low only to be lifted up by the news of His Son who has come.

We learn of a God who demands perfection from us, who demands us to fear Him above all else. We learn that we have failed at this miserably and deserve full punishment for this. We learn that God has taken our punishment on the cross in the person of Jesus Christ. That He rose 3 days after death and now to those who trust in His name and His work, He freely gives us His perfection and status. He puts His life on us because He took on our life and guilt on Himself.

This is grace that changes everything.

We are not perfect yet though. Like the night at The Park we will find moments that we fear man over God. Here we are called to repent (turn from that way of living and thinking) and trust in Jesus once again. We are called to fear God, love God and love each other in a way that is reckless, radical and sometimes embarrassing by the world’s standards.

I wish I could say that I have this fear of man thing whipped, I don’t. I do know though that “...he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” (Phil. 1:6). And I look forward to that day when my fear, my love, my mind and my life will be captivated fully and completely by Jesus and only Jesus, forever!

Do You Suffer from I.O.S.??

If you are reading this on Google Reader, I.O.S. may have overtaken you already...

Props: K.DeYoung

Sunday, July 19, 2009

He Hears Our Pleas, Because Of Who He Is


“For we do not present our pleas before you because of our righteousness, but because of your great mercy.” Daniel 9:18b

How often do I approach the throne of Grace in prayer with a heart that does not understand the weight of what I am doing. I am going before the King of the Universe, not a bank teller, not a Santa Claus at the mall, but how I so treat it that way. I often flippantly throw up some prayers that suggest I am talking to another man, maybe a respected man so I show some level of reverence, but not the level that should go to the King of Kings!

Just thinking through what Daniel is saying here. The reason we can come to God and not only do we not get destroyed, but he listens to us as a Father listens to a child is because of His mercy. And with our New Testament lenses on we can see that this great mercy ultimately was showcased in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, fully man and fully God, God in flesh.

We can come to our Father in Heaven and know he hears because he forsook his Son in our place. We come and do not face wrath because his Son took it for us. For Daniel it was the sacrifices of animals that shadowed a Greater Sacrifice to come.

Put simply we can come before our God, and He hears our pleas because of Jesus. We come because of His great mercy and love that shine brightly from the cross. His Mercy. His Love. His Grace.

That has to change how we think about how we pray and why we can pray and know that our pleas are heard!!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Graph Pertaining to Christian Music


Yep this sums it up...


Props:K. Roose via Twitter

Creative Stop Motion Video

Being part of the Imago Dei is the creative aspect of who we are that reflects the ultimate creator.

The PEN Story from PENStory on Vimeo.



Props: Holiday at the Sea

Friday, July 17, 2009

Man Up!

That is what Jared Wilson is saying, and I totally agree with an AMEN!!

We live in a sick culture that allows people to cheat on their wife, not just cheat, but actually had devised software to help!?!

Then turns it around so they are the victims when all the consequences come down..disgusting!

This post from Jared was so needed and I strongly encourage you fellas to listen up!!

Here is an Excerpt:
Mark Driscoll yells at men and some Christians wring their hands about it. I say "Keep it up."

According to this Time article, traffic tripled to AshleyMadison.com (no, I won't hyperlink it) -- a website that helps men and women commit affairs -- the Monday after Father's Day.

What the heck?

The whiners in the article talk about things being tough in marriage.
Welcome to real life.


Kyle Joins Ives

Kyle Moore is one of our leaders at The Well as well as a good friend and brother in Christ. Kyle recently joined the band Ives. This band is a young crew of fellas who are pretty legit. Kyle is a very, very talented musician and more importantly a Godly young man.

I recommend you check these dudes out, they will be opening for “The Glorious Unseen” on August 7th at New Covenant Church here in ABQ.

You can check out Ives on Facebook Here
Or Follow them on Twitter Here
They even are on MySpace, yes Myspace is still around


For now check out this video of their practice. (Kyle is the guitarist on the far right)


Also Check out Kyle's Blog..he has great taste in music too!

Top 3 Characteristics of a Church Planter

From Acts 29:

Acts 29 church planters were surveyed on 10 qualifications of a church planter and 60 microskills. I wrote a blog that detailed these characteristics more fully.


The top three characteristics are (in order):

  1. Spiritual Vitality
  2. Strong Marriage & Family Life
  3. Theological Clarity

The top three microskills from those surveyed:

  1. He gives evidence of a personal relationship with Jesus and a transformed life. (Spiritual Vitality)
  2. He models a lifestyle of following Jesus. (Spiritual Vitality)
  3. He professes healthy sexual relationship and purity in his marriage. (Strong Marriage & Family Life)
What do you think, would you add any others?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

David Brooks on Sonia Sotomayor

New York Times Columnist has an interesting piece on what it took Sonia Sotomayor to now be on the verge of Supreme Court Confirmation.

It is also a look at her story while unique and inspiring is becoming more of a way of life for us all.

Here is an excerpt:

This isn’t the old story of a career woman trying to balance work and family. This is the story of pressures that affect men as well as women (men are just more likely to make fools of themselves in response, as the news of the last few years indicates). It’s the story of people in a meritocracy that gets more purified and competitive by the year, with the time demands growing more and more insistent.

These profiles give an authentic glimpse of a style of life that hasn’t yet been captured by a novel or a movie — the subtle blend of high-achiever successes, trade-offs and deep commitments to others. In the profiles, you see the intoxicating lure of work, which provides an organizing purpose and identity. You see the web of mentor-mentee relationships — the courtship between the young and the middle-aged, and then the tensions as the mentees break off on their own. You see the strains of a multicultural establishment, in which people try to preserve their ethnic heritage as they ascend into the ranks of the elite. You see the way people not only choose a profession, it chooses them. It changes them in a way they probably didn’t anticipate at first.


Click Here for Rest from New York Times

Monday, July 13, 2009

Amazing... Life Without Limbs but With Jesus

Want to see how the Gospel transforms people, even when circumstances never change..
Watch This:


Props: The Institute

Also Check out Rob Bell's newest Nooma video that is a good companion to this video. (All Rob Bell stuff is not good, and I do not recommend all his materiel, but this one video is legit!)

Click Here for "Whirlwind" by Rob Bell