Sunday, May 31, 2009

Back from Blog Break

Last week was an unexpected and kind of forced blog break just due to the craziness of life. One thing that was great though, was more time with the kids including time near and in our brand new luxurious resort-like pool we bought, and Jordyn got to bury her brother in all their stuffed animals.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Driscoll on "The End of Christian America"

Mark Driscoll pastor of Mars Hill Church will be at City on a Hill soon to be Mars Hill Albuquerque tonight at 7pm discussing church unity in Albuquerque for he cause of Christ, as well as preaching on Sunday (11am and 7pm).
We are planning to get a group to head over there Sunday night at 7pm if you would like to come.

Below is a great article from Fox News from Pastor Mark about the Newsweek issue that proclaimed the end of America being a "christian nation".

Here is a quote:

Has Christian America come to an end? That question has been hotly debated since Newsweek published their recent feature story reporting that the number of Americans claiming no religious affiliation has nearly doubled since 1990. Additionally, the percentage of self-identified Christians has dropped ten points in the past two decades.

As an evangelical pastor with one of America’s fastest-growing churches in one of its least churched cities, I do not find the report surprising or discouraging. Newsweek missed the subtle — but vital — difference between Christian America and Christendom America.

Click Here for the rest of Driscoll's comments

David Brooks on Cheney, Obama and Bush

I am not very political, in fact I get uneasy when Christians get really up in arms about any issue and work to politicize it. I know there are flaws in that thinking, somewhat, so I am working them out. In that I am hesitant to listen to any preacher who is a staunch Republican or Democrat.

David Brooks's very insightful comments below is why we need to be able to look under the rhetoric of conservatives and liberals.

Here is how he opened his opinion section in the NY Times:
President Obama and Dick Cheney conspired on Thursday to propagate a myth. The myth is that we lived through an eight-year period of Bush-Cheney anti-terror policy and now we have entered a very different period called the Obama-Biden anti-terror policy. As both Obama and Cheney understand, this is a completely bogus distortion of history.
Read the rest of these insightful comments here.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Mark Driscoll-iPod Idol

Mark Driscoll pastor of Mars Hill Church will be at City on a Hill soon to be Mars Hill Albuquerque this Friday (7pm) discussing church unity in Albuquerque for he cause of Christ, as well as preaching on Sunday (11am and 7pm).
We are planning to get a group to head over there Sunday night at 7pm if you would like to come.

Check out Pastor Mark's wisdom on how not to use your iPod as a time to show the world how good or bad you can sing. (Although anytime you wanna rock out to Journey I say go for it!)

Missional Small Groups

Matt Carter, pastor of Austin Stone Church in Austin, TX, has some great insights into what Missional small groups at his church are. Take the time to watch this, especially as you think through what the purpose of small groups, community groups or home groups in your church.

THE SHOW - for May 19, 2009 - Guest Matt Carter from Todd Rhoades on Vimeo.

Props: Vitamin Z

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Discerning God's Will

From The Purple Cellar:
Discerning God’s will in one of these gray areas requires us to think. Paul and the others weighed a number of factors. They took into account the work of the Holy Spirit in forbidding them to preach in Asia and enter into Bithynia. Then alongside their understanding of the Spirit’s leading, they set Paul’s vision about the need in Macedonia. By evaluating all these factors together, the apostles determined what God wanted them to do.

Guidance in the Christian life is always a matter of wisdom more than feeling, of Scripture above open and shut doors. Therefore, when we believe the Holy Spirit is leading us to follow a particular course, we are wise to check our understanding against the Bible and the counsel of other trustworthy believers. The Bible is clear that God has promised to guide us. He is a guiding God. For you are my rock and my fortress; and for your name's sake you lead me and guide me” (Ps. 31:3).

Click here for the whole post

A Plea To An Older Generation

Working with young adults for almost 2 years the one thing I seem to hear from people is how lost this generation is. How “secular” they are becoming and how most are abandoning the faith. People give me statistics about how after high school a huge majority of kids fall away. I even had one prominent Christian speaker tell me that the biggest problem in the church today is the young men and the lack of depth in their lives.

While the statistics are indeed a bit discouraging and the truth is, many young people are not following the faith of their parents. The bigger implications and problems I believe in what I have seen is in the older generations lack of mentoring and teaching these young people. The reality is that every young Timothy or Titus needs a older, wiser Paul to walk through life with. Sadly in much of what I see this is not the case. And even worse there are many older men and women who simply are not equipped to teach and raise up these younger people. The lack of depth of younger generations is simply a reflection of the generation that went before it.

The problem I believe is not in the younger generation,although they have many problems for sure. The problem is, is that older men and women don’t feel a urge, need to train up those that are younger. We have become such a niche marketplace in the church that we think each generation needs to be an island to themselves. While I am not at all against having youth groups, college groups and whatever else, the danger can be that, we stop there. We can section off to the point of comfort and ease.

Let’s be honest, living life with a young 20 something who is struggling with relationships, porn, worry about life, is not easy. It takes commitment, it takes sacrifice, and it takes being willing to count others before yourself. It also means being willing to wrestle with tough questions about life and theology. It means being willing to be teachable as well as knowledgeable. Being an older mentor does not mean you have all the answers, instead it means you have the wisdom to lead in the pursuit of these answers.

I council many young men and it is not easy, it is frustrating, and it does drain me of energy sometimes, but it is not about me. If I believe that I have been saved, not just from wrath, but to a community, and a kingdom in which every part of life is affected, then I must be willing to live in that community in a way that is fitting for my age and role. So if I am a 50 year old I need to find a 20 year old to disciple, or if I am a 70 year old I need to find a 50 year old. Sometimes it may mean a 25 year old mature Christian will lead out and train up a 28 year old baby Christian as was the case for me when I became a believer. It is usually, but not always about age.

That is living life in community, and honestly that is what more and more of our young people need today than games, music and entertainment. I am 28 years old and know and feel the pull of culture telling me that community is only generational or socio-economic. I see however in scripture this is not true at all, and that my soul needs and yearns for men to pour into my life as much as I know I need to pour into others.

Scripture does not tell the older to wait till a younger person is in trouble to then step in. Nor does scripture tell an older person to wait till a younger person approaches them to meet. Scripture commands the older to seek out the younger (Titus 2: 1-5).

So let me plead with you older men and women, even if you think you are not that much older, to seek out a younger person to live life with. To weep with, to rejoice with, to invest in and to count better than yourself.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Mark Driscoll-Don't Be Google For God

Mark Driscoll pastor of Mars Hill Church will be at City on a Hill soon to be Mars Hill Albuquerque this Friday (7pm), and Sunday (11am and 7pm).
We are planning to get a group to head over there Sunday night at 7pm if you would like to come.

Below Mark shares about what to do when people ask tough questions about God, and how to be able to say "I don't know, but I'll find one", and actually doing the research.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Mark Driscoll on Charles Spurgeon

Mark Driscoll pastor of Mars Hill Church will be at City on a Hill soon to be Mars Hill Albuquerque this Friday (7pm), and Sunday (11am and 7pm).
We are planning to get a group to head over there Sunday night at 7pm if you would like to come.

Below is a excerpt about Mark's personal hero (other than Jesus) Charles Spurgeon.

40 Speeches in 2 Minutes

This may be one of the coolest video mash-ups ever. It also shows 2 things, 1. We need, yearn and long for victory and a hero to bring that victory about. 2. That yearning is woven into us as image bearers of God, as these are basically 40 of the same speech in various forms.


Props:Michael Kelly

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Clayton's Story

For those stressed about school, about jobs, about relationships, about a fight with a friend, about not having that new iPod or anything else of this world, watch this...

Props: Vitamin Z

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

An Intentional Summer

Since we are on the topic of not wasting summer vacation, here is some good food for thought from the peeps over at Boundless.

When school would let out for the summer I'd take about two weeks to sleep off my exhaustion, get in the summer work routine and completely avoid talking to my college friends (by the end of the semester I always needed a break from my buds). But when I'd start my catch-up phone calls I'd ask how the summer had been so far and the answer I got most of the time was "hard."

"Being home is...hard" seemed to be a theme in my conversations with college friends during breaks. One of my best friends came to Christ in college. She got involved in campus ministry and grew exponentially in her faith. And for her, going home was a battleground. It seemed like all the old temptations and tendencies met her at the city limits of her hometown.

Maybe you're like my friend and going home comes with difficulties like getting out of your quiet-time routine or peer pressure from old friends. Today's article offers common sense advice about how to be faithful in what can feel like a dry time. Here are some of the tipsLindsay gives about how to have an intentional summer:

  • Before leaving for break, make a commitment with a close Christian friend to check in at least a couple times a week. Think of things in advance that may be challenges for you and put them on a list of questions your accountability partner can ask you.
  • Set a goal to work through your prayer list. I've found that nothing helps me become focused on God more quickly than pouring my heart out to Him in prayer.
  • Think about which of your friends God has really placed on your heart, and spend time with them in an effort to show God's love to them. For example, instead of struggling at a party, ask a friend out to lunch.
  • View your family as a ministry opportunity. Sit down and have a quality conversation with your mom or dad. Ask (and truly care) about what is going on with your brother or sister. Be the person to mow the lawn before people have to go on safaris just to navigate through it.

Most college students just finished finals. If you're one who's going to be home for the summer (or even if you're going to be somewhere else) this is a great reminder that summer may be a break from classes, but it shouldn't be a break from pursuing godliness.

Payoff And Promise

A convicting, no, an extremely convicting post form Luke MacDonald:



King David.

First ballot hall-of-fame Christian leaders. All of them have something huge in common. Guess what it is?

wait… seriously what comes to your mind that is true about all of them.

Movement Starter

Extraordinary Leader

Revival Generator

Yes. But the most amazing thing about all of them is huge amount of waiting in their lives.

Abraham waited for decades for Isaac, the fulfillment of God’s promise.

Moses wandered for years out in the wilderness (literally and figuratively) thinking about his own people enslaved in Egypt.

Both by himself out watching the sheep and in the many years after he was annointed King while Saul was still on the throne, David was in flux.

In a sermon i heard recently… it was described this way.

In between.

Promise (what God has said he will do)


Payoff (the fruition of God’s plan in a persons life)

is Process

It would be foolish not to recognize that the time of waiting is preparation. God was growing those men into someone capable of killing a giant, willingly sacrificing a son, or parting the Red Sea.

I find myself many times demanding the payoff. If God has given me a vision for something why hasn’t it happened yet.

simply put– I may not be ready for it.

May God give you the courage to live faithfully and hopefully in all seasons of process.

—-the longer a slingshot is pulled back, the farther it flies.——-

Don't Waste Your Summer

Last night at The Well we started a series within the series of 1 Corinthians. The series is about living a radical life that has eternal significance. It is a call to forsake the allurements of this world that our culture tells us we need for happiness, whether it is technology, education, family, safety, comfort and money. Not forsake them completely, but forsake them as ultimate. Forsake them for the surpassing, ultimate and infinite beauty and joy of Christ and follow Him.

We talked that following Paul as He followed Christ (1 Cor. 11:1) means more than just being nice, hugging kids and not cussing. It is a drastic call to live in a way that sees others as more important and to seek their good, the ultimate good being for their salvation and enjoyment of Christ, one in the same.

Below are some quotes from John Piper's Book "Don't Waste Your Life":

"You don’t have to know a lot of things for your life to make a lasting difference in the world. But you do have to know the few great things that matter, perhaps just one, and then be willing to live for them and die for them. The people that make a durable difference in the world are not the people who have mastered many things, but who have been mastered by one great thing. If you want your life to count, if you want the ripple effect of the pebbles you drop to become waves that reach the ends of the earth and roll on into eternity, you don’t need to have a high IQ. You don’t have to have good looks or riches or come from a fine family or a fine school. Instead you have to know a few great, majestic, unchanging, obvious, simple, glorious things—or one great all-embracing thing—and be set on fire by them." (Piper, DWYL, pg. 44)

"God created me—and you—to live with a single, all-embracing, all-transforming passion—namely, a passion to glorify God by enjoying and displaying his supreme excellence in all the spheres of life. Enjoying and displaying are both crucial. If we try to display the excellence of God without joy in it, we will display a shell of hypocrisy and create scorn or legalism. But if we claim to enjoy his excellence and do not display it for others to see and admire, we deceive ourselves, because the mark of God-enthralled joy is to overflow and expand by extending itself into the hearts of others. The wasted life is the life without a passion for the supremacy of God in all things for the joy of all peoples." (John Piper, DWYL, pg.. 31)


For more from John Piper go to

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Bible Trumps Creativity

Craig Groeschel who is known for leading the way in many creative and innovative things within the church has some very wise words for those who may think creativity is priority.

Without question, we at have worked hard to be creative and relevant. We’ve never shied away from having fun in church. But creativity, relevance, and fun should never be the top goals when planning the weekend worship experience.

  • Jesus never said, “You will watch this funny video, and the funny video will set you free.”
  • John the Baptist never said, “Creativity must increase and I must decrease.”
  • Paul never proclaimed, “We should preach relevance and relevance crucified.”

Perhaps some pastors are unintentionally omitting the more important questions.

  • Instead of asking, “What will bring glory to God?” some appear to be asking, “What will bring in a crowd?”
  • Instead of asking, “How do we communicate Scripture accurately?” some are asking, “How can we be creative?”
  • Instead of asking, “How can we truly disciple those in our church?” some are asking, “How can we get people back to church?”

While the second question in each bullet point is not wrong to ask, if we aren’t asking the first questions, we are drifting into dangerous territory.

Click Here To Check Out

Monday, May 11, 2009

Productivity to The Glory of God

It seems like every week is a "busy week", with meetings, The Well, seminary, more meetings there just always seems to be more to do than time to do it in. C. J. Mahaney has put together a great little PDF on what Biblical Productivity looks like. I recommend you start your day off after time in the Word and Prayer in this handy little guide.

From C.J.'s Blog

Spanning more than four months on the blog, C.J.’s 17-part series on biblical productivity has finally concluded. Via email and in personal conversations many of you have requested that the series be provided as a single document to make it easier to print and read. And today we are making this entire series available as a single 36-page document. You can view and download the PDF by clicking here (0.6 MB):

For anyone interested in reading the series online, I’ve included a final series index of the original posts (see below).

Thanks for reading!

Biblical Productivity

1. Are You Busy?

2. Confessions of a Busy Procrastinator

3. The Procrastinator Within

4. Just Do It

5. In All Thy Ways

6. The Sluggard

7. Time. Redeemed.

8. Roles, Goals, Scheduling

9. Roles (Part 1)

10. Roles (Part 2)

11. Goals (Part 1)

12. Goals (Part 2)

13. Goals (Part 3)

14. Goals (Part 4)

15. Scheduling the Unexpected

16. The To-Do Lists Are Never Done

17. Self-Sufficient

For more form C.J. Mahaney check out his blog "A View From the Cheap Seats."

Sunday, May 10, 2009

How To Be A Single Titus 2 Woman

Working with young adults means one thing for sure, relationships. Working on purity, working on a clear Biblical vision of what marriage is, and working on those struggling with singleness. One thing I have told many, is to not wait on the sidelines for that "special someone" but to live a godly life now, to live with reckless, passionate love for Jesus now.

Carolyn McCulley offers some great wisdom from her own personal experience being a single woman, on what it means to be a single Titus 2 woman. How do you be a woman in pursuit of honoring God, when so much of what the Bible talks about for women is linked to marriage and motherhood? Carolyn attempts to show that it can be done.

Here is an excerpt:

One area in where I have struggled is what femininity should look like for a single woman. Because the Lord made the woman to be a helper, the contours of biblical femininity are usually sculpted through relationships with others - as wife, mother, daughter, sister, aunt. Though I am definitely a daughter, sister, and aunt, I am not (yet) a wife or mother. But I know that God created me female in his own image, and that he has given me this gift of singleness in this season of my life. These are not mutually exclusive concepts, but sometimes I still wrestle with how to express them both to the glory of God.

In late 1998, I moved to take a job as part of a church-planting ministry and to serve in a local church pastored by the pastor I met in South Africa, C.J. Mahaney. A year later, I attended a series of seminars on Titus 2 taught by his wife, Carolyn Mahaney. Through her teaching, I realized that of the seven qualities Paul urges Titus to have older women teach to younger women, only two are explicitly directed at married women and one to mothers. That leaves at least four for all women, married or single. Despite my marital status, I was to be self-controlled, pure, busy at home, and kind. That is a tall order no matter how you look at it, but it does not mean I can ignore the other three qualities. There are implications for single women in the commands to love husbands and children as well as for wives to be subject to their husbands. Based upon this passage, the following are some ways in which God has given me the grace to apply the Titus 2 virtues in my life and genuinely enjoy my femininity as a single woman.

Click to read the rest

Star Trek Fans Angry About New Movie

Happy Mother's Day :)

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Friday, May 8, 2009

Preaching Irrelevant, Silly Myths

Matt Chandler lead pastor at The Village Church speaking at Desiring God's Pastor's Conference this past year.

Ed Stetzer Interacts with 9Marks Journal on Multi-Site Churches

Ed is the man, uber-smart and very thoughtful with his interactions with the most recent 9Marks journal that deals with multi-site churches. Good stuff to think about for sure.

Everyone's talking about multi-site churches these days. There are books, seminars, and today we have several thousand multi-site churches in North America. Some of you read my series of posts on the subject last year. Well, last week 9 Marks released it's May/June eJournal.

It's good to see 9 Marks putting out an eJournal that doesn't just criticize mulit-site churches, but also includes a defense of them from men like J.D. Grear, Matt Chandler and Gregg Allison. The whole journal can be downloaded here, and I encourage you to check it out. I won't break down everything said in every article, but I will point out a few of the things that caught my attention.

Click here for the rest of this insightful response.

Death By Love: Jesus our Warrior King

I cannot recommend Mark Driscoll’s book “Death By Love” enough. In it Driscoll shares various ways that the atonement of Christ on the cross speaks into various situations. Below is a couple of quotes from Chapter 1 dealing with Christ’s victory over Satan and Demonic influences.

This quote reminds me so much of Ephesians 2 and how our allegiance has now changed:

“Ashamed of your many years at the Dragon’s side, you stood off to the side alone, gazing at the ground until Jesus came to you. Taking your chin in his hand, Jesus lifted your face, looked you in the eye, and told you that your sins were forgiven, your Enemy conquered, and your life liberated from captivity, and that God is now your Father, new life is your gift, and heaven is your home. As tears streamed down your face, Jesus asked you always to remember to see yourself as he does, not in light of what you have done or what has been done to you, but rather solely by what he has done for you as your victorious Warrior King.” (pg. 46)

Conviction or Condemnation, there is a difference:

“God convicts you of specific sins so that, with his compassionate help, you can repent and move on to freedom and joy. Satan, however, will seek to defeat and discourage you through guilt that is so general that you never know exactly what to repent of and are thereby left in paralyzing bondage and despair.” (pg. 50)

Click Here to order “Death By Love”

Thursday, May 7, 2009

To Those Who Are Overwhelmed with Finals, Work, and Life

Something to remember, ;)

Shaq vs Lesner

Ok not really, but I thought the fact that Shaq is training in MMA is pretty interesting.

From ESPN:

Mark Driscoll on Humility

Pastor Mark from Mars Hill Church takes a lot of shots and bullets when it comes to who he is. Whether it is his language, or a perceived arrogance the fact is the man has snipers all over the blog universe that are ready to take him out at the first instance of any imperfection.

This video shows though that he is a man, that yes is imperfect, and yes still sins, but is seeking humility and willing to own up to his mistakes. That is the mark of humility!

This week at Mars Hill Church, Mark Driscoll preached on Humble Pastors. In this clip he explains how to find out if you're a humble pastor.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

God's Mercy

The Gospel For ABQ-UNM

I was recently asked to write up an explanation of the “good news” for a newspaper as a part of JR Woodward’s Good News Series. I wrote up a contextualized expression of the gospel for Austin, the gospel for my city. I’ve also submitted it to our local paper. This is a good exercise for all church planters. Thanks to JR for stimulating this good line of thinking. I hope you’ll do something similar for your local newspaper.

Jonathan Dodson gives us something very important to think through. How does the Gospel speak to our city? How would you explain it to a student at UNM, CNM or a young adult at Starbucks?

The Day Is Not Yours

From The Gospel Driven Church:
The truth is, the day does not belong to us. It is not our day to do with as we please. We serve a sovereign God. He created the end from the beginning, knows our future exhaustively, and is firmly in control. He made our days and they belong to him.

As such, isn't it a wee bit arrogant to begin with the idea that each day is ours and then worry about fitting God in? Instead, we should work at the humble awe of knowing all of our moments, each millisecond, waking or sleeping, are perfectly accounted for within his economy. It is a wonder then, that God makes time for us.

He then goes on to show 2 ways the understanding that the day belongs to a sovereign God changes our outlook.

1. It makes us more conscious of how we use our day.

2. It makes us more conscious of him within our day.

We need these reminders every morning, at least I know I do!

Human Creativity That Points To The Maker's

In case you are one of the few who have not seen this, it is pretty sweet!

Tim Keller at Google

The Well's community groups went through "The Reason for God" by Tim Keller this past semester. We chose this book in order to better equip our students for their engagements with the culture they are in here in Albuquerque, NM.

We actually look forward to some exciting things coming next year, which we will be announcing over the summer in relation to this book!

During the book tour that Dr. Keller went on, he gave many lectures at places like Cal Berkeley, Stanford, Penn and Google. Below I have embedded his talk he gave to Google. It is a great lecture and engagement and I recommend taking a hour out to watch.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Understanding People Before Culture

Mark Lauterbach in this month's NEXT Webzine gives some great words of wisdom when it comes to how we as Christians should engage the world around us. We so often (myself for sure included) get caught up with thinking more about culture than anything else. Sometimes we do so out of our own self-justification, so we can watch South Park or listen to this or that. We engage in "cultural studies" without ever actually engaging the culture we study with the gospel of Jesus Christ! That is wrong, that is sin and we must heed this wisdom from Lauterbach.

Here is an excerpt:

In light of this, there’s a big question many Christians are asking today: How should a Christian relate to their culture?

Should we insulate ourselves in Christian ghettos? Or are we to study the culture–stay in touch with the best of TV and cinema, keep up with the bestsellers, and know some of the new music?

Personally, I am not sure I know exactly how to answer all these questions or where to draw all the lines. I know we should ask these questions, carefully and biblically. And I know we will all answer them, in good conscience, in different ways.

But I want to suggest that this question–“How should a Christian relate to culture?”–may be the wrong question. This may be the wrong place for us, as Christians in the middle of culture, to start. Here’s why: I am not sure how I am to relate to the culture, but I am sure I am to relate to people outside of Christ for the sake of their salvation. Before we ask how we as Christians should relate to our culture we must ask how and why Christ came into culture. Christ and his mission should define the questions we ask about culture.

Click here for the rest of the article.

Monday, May 4, 2009

The Driscolls on How Not To Marry a Coward

Mark and Grace Driscoll offer some great wisdom for ladies in trying to avoid marrying a coward.

Ladies, this is something I cannot plead with you enough on, what you may find cute right now will be painful in 5 years.

Men, you are to be the spiritual leader, you are to take the bullets, you are to protect, lead, guide and sacrifice. There are too many boys today, that are lazy, video game players, sports fanatics, gym rats who don't read their Bible, don't know how to sacrifice, neglect prayer and act like whiney little wimps. I am not even talking about physical strength, that's easy.

I am talking about the crap that I have seen, where men do not respect women, they do not see their calling to lead and serve, they actually expect to be led and served. It is disgusting. And God will eventually deal with you, either by breaking you in front of the Cross with repentance and grace. OR by judging you guilty, and unleashing His full wrath upon you for eternity.

In short: Men be Men. Ladies seek Men, not boys, no matter how "hot" they are!!

Coldplay Thanks Fans With Free Live CD

It is no wonder this band has such loyal fans!

Starting with their May 15th show in West Palm Beach, Florida, Coldplay will give all fans that attend a gig on their North American Viva la Vida summer tour a free live album, the band revealed on its Website. Fans who aren’t holding tickets to any of those performances can get the nine-song collection,LeftRightLeftRightLeft, as a free download on the band’s official Website starting May 15th. Physical copies of the album will only be available at Coldplay’s concerts, however. The live album culls performances from several cities during the band’s last year of touring and will be available only during its summer tour, which runs until August 9th.

I Want The Whole Gospel

From James MacDonald:

I Want the Whole Gospel

Every single ounce of truth; give it to me straight just like it is in the Bible.

I want the whole gospel:
Don’t dilute the living water—it might not quench my thirsty soul.

I want the whole gospel:
Turn on the light of Jesus Christ and don’t shield my view—I need every beam of His radiant glory to dispel the darkness in me.

I want the whole gospel:
Don’t block the door, or I might not get through.

I want the whole gospel:
I need an accurate map to the narrow road, because only a few are finding it.

I want the whole gospel:
Because I am wholly lost, God’s verdict is wholly just, and my damnation is wholly certain.
My heart is wholly depraved and my sin is wholly mine.
My efforts are wholly futile and my escapes are wholly hopeless.
I need a whole Savior, whose whole suffering, wholly satisfies a holy God.

Please, please don’t cut the corners. It’s appointed unto man once to die and I have to be sure I get it right.

I have to have the whole gospel—give it to me straight. Nothing else will do!

Yes…God help us, let’s give the whole gospel.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Big News From City On A Hill

City on a Hill today announced some rather big news. City on a Hill's Lead Pastor Dave Bruskas is a dear friend, and I am really excited for them. In the coming school year The Well looks forward to teaming up with City on a Hill which will be a Mars Hill campus to reach UNM and CNM in new and exciting ways.

Greater things are yet to be done...

At today’s services, Pastor Mark is making a few significant announcements, including news of multiple Mars Hill pastors preparing to start new churches, and multiple new Mars Hill campuses in the works. The latter includes our first out-of-state campus in New Mexico.

This summer, City on a Hill Church in Albuquerque will become a Mars Hill campus. We will partner together in an effort to reach as many people as possible with the gospel of Jesus. Over the past three months, the Executive Elders of Mars Hill and the pastors of City on a Hill have spent many hours in discussion, prayer, and study in order to reach this unanimous decision.

Dave Bruskas is the lead pastor at City on a Hill, which has been a part of the Acts 29 Networksince 2007. He is a proven, seasoned pastor and a gifted teacher. He is a loving husband, and a devoted father to his four daughters. Dave will be the Albuquerque campus pastor and serve as a regional director for both Acts 29 and Mars Hill, starting new campuses, starting new churches, and continuing to lead the local congregation.

The transition from City on a Hill to Mars Hill Church will be official in the next few months, and the new campus will celebrate its grand opening this fall. In the meantime, the local leadership will help shepherd the congregation through the transition, and Mars Hill pastors will spend some time onsite to provide training and fellowship as we get better acquainted with this new extension of our church family (for example, Tim Smith, our lead worship pastor, will visit next weekend, and Pastor Mark will preach live at City on a Hill on May 24).

Please pray for our brothers and sisters in Albuquerque, and the work God has called them to lead in their city and region. We are encouraged by their faithfulness to the local mission, and it is an honor to come alongside them in the cause of the gospel.

As we follow Jesus across state lines, none of us know quite what to expect. But we trust him, we love him, and we want people to know him. We are incredibly excited to see him bring unity and fruit within the body of Christ, and salvation and new life throughout the world.

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Saturday, May 2, 2009

Sam Storms Talk 1 @ Clarus 09

Sam Storms’s 1st talk at Clarus 09 was basically a brief summary of Jonathan Edwards Religious Affections.

Storms who is a Edwards scholar and admitted that few if any of us have seen a revival like the one that Edwards went through. He said this is good and bad. Bad cause we do long to experience this. Good because of the theological messiness that this type of revial comes with.

Storms then asked, What is true Religion, what is essential to the Christian life?

The answer is found in 1 Peter 1:8

Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory,”

An inexpressible joy, devoted to Christ is the quintessential thing to mark true Christianity. One of the best determining factors of the presence of such religion is when suffering is present. Suffering like nothing else truly exposes the state of our soul. It is hard to be a hypocrite when you are in pain.

When faith passes through the furnace of suffering what is left?

True faith that Peter talks about in vs. 8 has three characteristics:

  1. Loving Jesus
  2. Trusting Jesus
  3. Enjoying Jesus

You cannot have one of these without the others. This is an all for nothing deal.

Storms then shared that what Peter ultimately invisions is a joy that human words cannot do justice or find the capacity to articulate.

This is more than just emotions that can be awakened by everything and anything. This is affections that are tied directly to the heart and one’s response to Biblical Truth.

Storms then asked a great question.

Does the reality of the intensity of these affections frighten us? If so, how do we think about heaven then?

Finally Storms pointed to the most passionate and affectionate person, Jesus. His affections were intense and full of fire and passion.

This is why we sing, “singing Truth ignites a forest fire of love, of hatred of sin, of affection for truth, of acknowledgement of power and mercy”

And every bit of it all is revolving around, Jesus!

Ray Ortlund Jr. Talk 1 @ Clarus 09

The first talk of Clarus 09 was given by Ray Ortlund Jr.. Ortlund went over Psalm 1 and helped to identify what makes up True Spirituality.

Ortlund started off asking the questions: Delighting in Truth, is it Biblical? Does it matter?

Ortlund then proceeded to go on to tell how indeed it does matter. How delighting in God cannot be separated from the gospel. By going through Psalm 1 Ortlund showed that the righteous man was the one who delighted in the law of the Lord. He emphasized 3 keywords in the Psalm.

  1. Blessed. This is a congratulatory view, it is a Biblical High Five. This man in Psalm 1 has had his spiritual vision purified. Even in the face of scoffers and sinners he stands firm and delights in God and nothing else. This man is saying no to a lot, so he can say yes to God. That is why the Psalm calls him Blessed.
  2. Delight. This raises the bar and lowers it. I raises it by showing there is no such thing as half-hearted Christianity. God wants our full delight, our full devotion, not just a moderate acknowledgement. God made the Bible clear on this point. God made the Bible in simple language so we would delight in Him as He has revealed Himself to us.
  3. Therefore. Before the word “therefore” in vs. 5 the psalmist is speaking in present tense. Following “therefore” the psalmist now looks toward eternity future. This is where the Psalm turns to show where the wicked and righteous will end up. Delight determines destiny. What we enjoy, matters now, it will matter forever. What we enjoy reveals the deepest reality in us that has been wrought in us by the Holy Spirit and will matter forever. When dark things about God enter our mind we need to talk about them.

Ortlund then asked us. Can we identify with this righteous man and his delight. His delight not in the law, but in the law of the Lord. In other words is there an aliveness in us that will never die. Will we desire this taste of delight, that in reality, ultimate reality is just a foretaste of heaven?

C.J. Mahaney: Biblical Manhood and Womanhood

From CBMW:

Our motivation for biblical manhood and womanhood in marriage is the gospel.

I am convinced that the complementarian position will strengthen the church in her God given-role to proclaim and protect the gospel. And the most effective apologetic for the complementarian position (apart from Scripture) is marriages, families, and singles who radiate the beauty and wisdom of God's plan for men and women.

Biblical manhood and womanhood is the life-transforming effect of the gospel on full display. When a church teaches, practices, and honors gender distinctions determined by our good and wise God, the gospel will advance. But this will only happen where there are humble and courageous pastors who lead every member and ministry of the church by personal example and with strategic pastoring.

Yet here's my concern: It is all too easy for us as pastors to affirm biblical manhood and womanhood and to contend humbly for the complementarian position, and yet still fail to intentionally and consistently apply this body of teaching to our lives and to our churches. Pastors must not only proclaim truth but practice truth.

Read the rest of this great post here.

Friday, May 1, 2009

The Meaning of Life According to Jonathan Edwards

During the DSC Clarus luncheon Ray Ortlund Jr. shared this quote from George Mardsen’s biography of Jonathan Edwards aptly titled “Jonathan Edwards: A Life” as one that has stuck with him in profound ways.

“In the Edwardses’ world, the meaning of life was found in intense loves, including earthly loves.” (pg. 497)

The next line says:

“Yet as overwhelming as earthly affections might be, they were supposed to have their true value only when subordinated to heavenly and eternal loves.” (pg. 497)

You mean old, dead theologians understood emotion and love, in intense ways??

Who would’ve thought?

For more on this, check out Clarus' other speaker Sam Storm's book "Signs of the Spirit: An Interpretation of Jonathan Edwards's 'Religious Affections'"