Monday, March 31, 2008

Intelligent Design - Movie - Ben Stein - Support it!!!

Ben Stein is helping put out a movie about intelligent design - EXPELLED: No Intelligence Allowed (click here). There are many people trying to silence this movie - but it is coming out April 18th. While intelligent design does not prove the Bible is true, it does help validate the Bible and is a useful apologetic. The website has trailers, promo stuff, free downloads, and more. It is worth checking out and supporting. Also, R.C. Sproul interviewed Ben Stein - a very good interview - and R.C. Sproul is well versed in this area. Check it out here.

I think this is one movie we really need to promote. You may have heard about a number of professors who have been fired or denied tenure for holding this position (even one at Iowa State). William Lane Craig called them Intellectual Martyrs. Pass this info on.


Creative Theology? Speaking In Tongues

I don't ever want to be accused of being creative in my theology. That's another word for heretic - which can lead to being burned. But... I've been thinking a bit about the gift of speaking in tongues. I haven't done the research yet - so don't burn me at the stake - but it seems to me that the Acts 2 (day of Pentecost) speaking in tongues was not at all the "gift" of speaking in tongues that Paul writes about in Corinthians. Maybe that idea isn't heresy; maybe it is a normal teaching - but I have not heard it as far as I can remember.

A few reasons for this. There were no interpreters. The disciples were not speaking gibberish, but were rather speaking a known language. It wasn't that just tongues were done just 3 times (as taught by Paul). It does not surprise me that when the Holy Spirit is sent, crazy-big things happen. This does not seem to be what Paul is writing about in Corinthians. I am sure there are many more reasons why Acts 2 does not seem to be the gift of speaking in tongues.

I ramble about this because I am in the process (slowly) or writing my paper for licensure in the Free Church. I have to state my position on different issues - including the cessation or the continuance of the gift of speaking in tongues. By the way - I see no Biblical argument for cessation - at least none that isn't creative with God's Word. Historically and logically I can make the argument for cessation. BUT - if the gift had ceased, I really believe God would have made it clear. I am not a cessationist (not at this point).

Are the languages being spoken in Acts 2 the spiritual gift of speaking in tongues, or was that occasion the Holy Spirit doing a new thing in an amazing way?

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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Worship Training Resources

I really enjoy leading worship and I do work at growing in my abilities. Sovereign Grace Music has some good training stuff - for free. They are theologically deep too - what a crazy unpopular combo - good music and deep theology. Their training stuff is here.

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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

My Family Is Amazing

My wife has been so patient, helpful, and strong. She's put up with me being gone; a kid needing a home for a couple nights; minstry stuff that takes me away from her last minute; and she is a fantastic mom.

Jonathan is starting to say lots of words - or kind of say them. Yellow = weh-woh. He is passionate and has strong ideas about stuff. He pretend cried today - it was so cute. He loves guitar. He was a total daddy's boy, but now wants mom sometimes instead of dad. He knows about the Vikings - and when he wants to wear Vikings clothes - he raises both hands and shakes them and says - wo - wo (go go, I think).

Elise - she is as cute as a button. She is a mother-hen - which Jonathan doesn't always like. She loves to sing (her top request is "Holy, Holy, Holy") and is so passionate that she often gets in trouble for talking to loudly. She is all girl, but does end up rough-housing with the boys. She loves lotion and lipstick and her many purses and dolls

Benjamin is excelling at school and is a good leader. He continues to love playing piano (chording). He does well at sports and loves to watch them with his dad (especially the NFL - go Vikings). He is a great big brother. He plays with his football guys all the time.

I'm getting ready to coach U6 soccer (Benjamin, our Pastor's daughter, and 2 others) which is always fun. We're getting ready for our summer mission's trip to Rosebud, SD for the 6th summer. We have a busy summer - lots of weddings (and we won't be able to make about half of them - sorry friends). We're also looking forward to some vacations (if you haven't checked out vrbo - you gotta do it). I am slowly working on my licensure paper.

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All Scripture Is God- Breathed - The Old Testament

The New Testament boldly proclaims that "all Scripture is God-breathed" - the Old Testament is inspired God - and then continues - and is useful for "teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness." Any believer should gladly affirm that. The problem arises when we begin to look at practice. Few believers spend much time in the Old Testament - and if they do, there are a few key books that are enjoyed (Genesis, Psalms, Proverbs), but so many are unused. There is a very well respected E. Free Pastor that I know in Iowa who in over 25 years of preaching has rarely preached from the Old Testament. I think most Christians agree in practice - negating 2 Timothy 3:16.

In my humble estimation, the reason for this is our lack of a hermeneutic for the Old Testament. What do we do with so many crazy stories? Here is a simplistic and probably unfair summary of two very popular approaches. The Dispensationlist moralizes the OT stories - so that the story of David and Goliath is about being a man who loves God like David - and knowing that God deals with evil men (or something in that vain). The Covenantalist allegorizes the text - so that the story of David and Goliath is about the "Giants in our lives" and how we need the 5 stones of faith, love, God's Word, the Church, and (pick your "stone") - reducing the Bible to Aesop's Fables. Don't laugh - I've heard one of those and read the other. I won't name the author, but a godly, wise, Covenant Pastor (he's dead now) has some great New Testament stuff, but his Old Testament stuff is all allegory (I guess this allows them to think the Church is the New Israel - probably an unfair shot - but it plays a part). I should say that both camps may use the other camp's methods, but in general, I believe the above is true.

So how do we approach the Old Testament? How do we avoid lives that proclaim God to be a liar in 2 Timothy 3:16? (I do think I have some good answers. I didn't make them up - I'm not that smart).

In my view, my biggest hermeneutical challenge is the Gospels. Even John 3:16 is brutally hard to understand (and don't get me started on the Beattitudes).

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March Madness Brackets take the heart out of Basketball

I must confess that I have never been a big college sports fan, though I do love some professional sports. Since I now live in a state bereft of professional sports, I am trying to teach myself to enjoy college sports. I should mention that I married into a Hawkeye family and that we don't have cable, so there are many games I can't see and I don't get the great highlights that ESPN gives.
I filled out my brackets this year online (I have filled them out one other time, but really didn't watch them closely - and was in no competition). 22 of my friends from facebook are also doing it. What I've found is that I can't just root for the team I want to win, but end up torn - though I want certain teams to win, they aren't down to win on my bracket - so I can't really cheer for them. I don't like that. If I wasn't doing reasonably well (among my facebook friends - I'm tied for 3rd) , I really wouldn't enjoy it. I'm not sure I'll fill out brackets again.

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Help Me Find Other EFCA Pastor Bloggers...

There is a Pastor trying to make a list of EFCA bloggers who are Pastors (I guess I count - even as a youth Pastor). If you want to see that list, check it out here. If you know someone who should be added to it, click here. I know some of you must know some, so take a moment to actually hook a brother (brother in Christ) up. Thanks.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Avoiding Hypocrisy - and how it moved me to other problems

Jesus really rails against hypocrisy in the sermon on the Mount (and other places). He is driving at the point that our heart must be right when we do what we do (pray, give, etc.). I was taught this all my life (a good thing). One false idea that I associated with it (somehow - and I think it may relate to being a recovering legalist) was that really just enjoying something made it a bad motive. I thought that if I really enjoyed helping old people, for instance, that I would lose any reward in heaven because I loved it so much (honestly, I don't mind it, but it isn't my favorite past time). I've known this was a wrong idea in the last 13 years of my life or so, but it took a while to figure that out - and I still battle with it all the time. One very practical way this battle came up was in the area of leading worship. I love playing guitar - and practice can be a blast - and to lead people in worship is wonderful. But somehow I feared truly admitting this - because maybe then because I enjoyed it, the benefit would be lost. I'm sure this makes no sense to some, but others must get this. I didn't admit this truth about my love for leading worship until a couple years ago.

It was just today as Men's Bible Study that we were looking at Matthew 6 and some teaching on hypocrites that I put together where my erroneous thoughts on enjoying serving God came from (maybe not all of them came from being a recovering legalist - but certainly it's played a huge part).

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Major Prayer Request...

A dear friend of mine (many of you know this person, but for safety, I do not want to mention this person's name) is in what seems to be a dangerous situation. Recently this person was beaten for his/her faith - and forced to pay a large amount of money to be released. Lately he/she believes he/she has been followed. Pray for God's hand to "shut the lions' mouths." Thank you.

Read Isaiah 40 as well. Verses 12-18 and the last 4 or so are my favorite.

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Monday, March 17, 2008

Church Plant...

Our small church is in the process of helping plant another Church - in Webster City, IA (the Fort Dodge EFC is helping as well). It's exciting to be in this process and I can't wait to see what God will do. Our family went to Church yesterday over in Webster City - it was good. I think planting a church is a much better option than growing the one you're in bigger. I love it!!

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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

UBAC - Ubangi Academy - Karawa, Zaire, Africa - DRC

For anyone who is a UBAC alum (Ubangi Academy) - you ought to join the facebook UBAC group. We need to get more of us no there. By UBAC - I mean - the boarding school at Karawa, Zaire, Africa (run by the E. Free Church and the Covenant Church - though now I suppose it should be called the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

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Lovie Smith's House Was Egged (joke)

My brother sent me this. It's funny, I think.

Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith's house was egged.Chicago police reported that some individual attempted to "egg" Lovie Smith's house last night.

The report stated: "An empty egg carton was recovered at the scene. Two eggs hit Mr. Smith's house, three eggs went over his house and hit his neighbor's back door, two eggs hit the houses of each of his next-door neighbors, and the remaining three eggs were found broken on the ground near the carton from where the individual threw them. Looking at what was hit, police officials say they are considering Bears quarterback Rex Grossman as the primary suspect."

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Monday, March 10, 2008

Providence of God in the Life Of Joseph by Steve Farrar

I heard a fantastic message a year ago from Steve Farrar (Men's Ministries) - about the Providence of God in the life of Joseph. I managed to take great notes which I can't find today (my filing system fails me yet again). Someone put the notes they took on their blog. It is really great. You can check it out here.

It's a fantastic reminder!

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Thursday, March 06, 2008

Our Church Webpage... Lessons

Not very exciting - but we keep adding to and updating our church webpage. I've put a bunch of lessons on there (PowerPoint and Documents). It is worth it to check out the illustration on "Grace - Fantastic Illustration" - click here for that directly - I think it will work like this. I know my source for it was Beth Moore (indirectly) - but not sure where she got it from.

My Teaching Lessons Are Here

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

This is not a Postmodern Age

I just heard William Lane Craig (EFCA - Central District Conference in Des Moines) make the statement that we do not live in a postmodern age. Rather, we still are in the modern age (science and technology are what we firmly hope in), but we lack the intelligence of former years - so we have a dumbed-down society. I don't want to put words in his mouth - but I have been thinking thoughts along these lines. He did blame youth pastors for propagating this "postmodern" myth in the Church (and he is speaking especially of the Emergent group). I find all this fascinating and hope to think more on it.

I've been simply arguing that if we are postmodern, it won't last long, because it's a bankrupt way to live - and you really can't live it out. If you accidentally eat rat poison, you better hope the words on the label actually have meaning /truth.

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