Thursday, May 21, 2009

Jesus Did Not Kill Mohammed

Here is a perfect example of what happens when church and state become to closely tied.  You have to imagine how it must break God's heart when he sees us destroying each other in the name of Christ.  

The video below is the one that the Sojo article links too.  I definitely do not agree with everything that the two people interviewed say.  However, I can see how stories like the "Jesus killed Mohammed" story can give them a bad taste any time they see any hint of military and Christianity mixed together.  If you have some time sit back and watch this, its pretty interesting.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Are We Being Taken Advantage Of?

I saw this CNN video on one of the bogs I follow called internetmonk.  

How about that answer the pastor gave about being taken advantage of?  "If I'm not being taken advantage of I'm not following in Jesus' footsteps."  Thats one of those lines that makes you take a step back and ask if thats really true.  And then if you believe it to be true you ask yourself, where does that leave me?  

Along those same lines earlier today I was looking at the website to a church I used to attend while I was at Rosedale Bible College.  This church has always amazed me at how seriously they take the call to be Christ to those around them.  I've said often that they seem to have such a great balance of focus on the Upward, the Inward and the Outward.  Meaning that their services have sincere, passionate worship as well as Scripturally grounded preaching.  That they do community within the church well.  Which is essential for such a large church.  There's so many ways to plug into small groups and ministries within the church.  And their upward focus drives them outward.  As you'll be able to see from their website.  

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

I know that all of none of you will actually spend an hour and twenty minutes listening to this, but you really should.  Especially men.  Both single and married.  This is a sermon by Pastor Mark Driscoll out of Seattle calling men to step up and be men.  Gotta tell you it challenged me.  In typcial Driscoll fashion he comes on a bit strong, but as he says in his sermon, this was a sermon directed at men and this is the way to get their/our attention the best.  Again, it's long, but definitely worth your time.

And just so the woman don't feel left out, this is part of the same series only directed towards women.  Haven't listened to this one yet but am planning to at some point.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Sunday Setlist: May 17th

This is part of sunday setlist extravaganza  over at Fred McKinnons site.  Check it out to see what other church worship leaders are doing.  Its been a great help for me!

I've been going through a sermon series from Mark Driscoll following the theme of Worship through the book of Revelation.  So far it's an excellent series.  I've always been intrigued by the book of Revelation, especially since we handle it so much differently than we do most any other book in the Bible.  Anyway, thats another blog post in itself.  But you can find Driscolls entire series on Itunes and if that stuff interests you I'd encourage you to download it.  The most recent sermon I listened to was based on Revelation 4 and the description of the Throne in Heaven.  As I thought about it I was struck by how seldom the Jesus I picture is not the Jesus that is depicted in Revelation.  My thinking centers Jesus' earthly ministry, and thats reflected in our singing as well too.  So this week I shared that at the outset of the service along with a couple of descriptions of Christ and the Throne scene that come from Revelation and tried to center my songs on that.  Not every song was as obvious of a connection as I wanted but heres the set list.

Opening Song: 
I Will Boast

Offeratory Hymn:
Nothing But the Blood

Main Set:
Lion of Judah
My Savior, My God
Lord Most High
Worthy Is the Lamb

Like I said not all had as strong of a connection as I would have liked.  Lion of Judah is obviously a pretty strong connection with Revelation 4-5.  My Savior, My God connection was mainly musical, same capo, wanted to keep it upbeat.  It did have some connections, first verse says "I only know at his right hand stands one who is my savior" which is obvious an image of heaven.  Lord Most High had the reference to Christ being "exalted in every nation" and the tempo of the song was a nice transition into Worthy is the Lamb.  Worthy is the Lamb is actually a new one for us (we went through a long period where we didnt do hardly any new songs).  I told my wife what I was thinking for the theme of the morning and she immediately started singing that song.  So I owe this one to her.  If I do a new song towards the end of our singing time I like to invite people to sit if they want, it helps us feel a little more comfortable if people aren't singing as much and I think it allows them to realize that its ok to simply sit back and listen and allow the words to the song to minister to them.  So I did that, although once we got to the chorus quite a few stood back up.  For the first time doing it I thought it went well.  We seem to struggle with songs that are somewhat empty like that one, we don't "own" the song enough and it feels like no ones leading.  Thats one of the struggles that comes with me leading from the keyboard and not doing any singing.  But I thought it went well, the girls did excellent with it vocally.

The team was:
Clay - Acoustic and lead vocals
Kaylene - Vocal
Chelsea - Vocal 
Matt B. - Vocal
Jordan - Bass
Shawn (me) - Piano
Austin - Drums

We seemed to struggle a little in rehearsal coming together as a group instrumentally but we figured it out by the time the service started.  Right out of the gate this morning the vocals nailed it.  Another great Sunday!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

John Piper addresses President Obama on Abortion

This one's for you momma.

I have to hand it to Piper, he has no fear when it comes to delivering his message.  For me, I would couple a message like this with so many niceties that it would totally undermine the importance of my message.  I'm envious of that to be honest.  And even with saying the hard words that he says, he doesn't come across as hateful towards the president.  I have no doubt that if he was saying this face to face with Pres Obama the energy would be the same, the words would be the same, and afterwards they'd sit down have lunch together and Obama would leave feeling and knowing that Piper genuinely cared about him.  

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Great Promo

The ending of this video totally caught me by suprise.  Now this is the way to promote the pro-life stance.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Sunday Setlist: May 10th

To see other set lists like this one check out Fred McKinnon's Sunday setlist blog carnival.

This week was crazy busy for me and Kaylene. I was at the church Tuesday night, Wednesday night and Thursday for various meetings/practices. Monday Kaylene's brother was in town so him and his friend were at our house for the evening. Kaylene got sick on Tuesday and we spent most of the day Wednesday at the doctors office. Wednesday evening was our first all-team worship practice so most of my spare thinking time from Sun-Wed was geared towards that. And this weekend Kaylenes Mom and Sister came down. It was all great stuff, I just realized halfway through my Saturday afternoon that tomorrow was Sunday and I hadnt even began to think about where I wanted to go with Sunday morning worship. And I'm usually the type who wants to have everything thought through, all my intro's/endings/transitions worked out in my head, and musically. Think through what the overall theme is that we're carrying through the set. Have a couple scriptures lined up that I could read throughout the set. Now saying that, I confess, thats the ideal, usually I'm not quite that organized. But usually I like to at least have a majority of the songs thought out by Saturday. So needless to say I was a little stressed last evening. But right before I went to bed God laid the song "I Will Boast" on my heart, which is one we haven't tried. And it actually was great because it tied in well with Tim's sermon. So our set list was as follows:

Welcome Song:
Awesome Is the Lord Most High

Offeratory Hymn:
All Hail the Power of Jesus Name

Main Set:
I Will Boast
He Reigns
He Is Exalted
Wonderful Merciful Savior

Ministry Song:
Holy and Annointed One

Not including "I Will Boast" the other songs were all really familiar and the congregation really blasted them out. It was a really good service and refreshing for me to realize that it's not about how much I have everything planned out (although I still think that is important and not an encouragement for me to be lazy in my role) but about being open and available to be used.

The team did a great job and seemed really relaxed both during practice and during our worship time. Tim's sermon was right on too, it was about how the Gospel shapes all of our Theology and our entire outlook on life. You can find it here after Monday. Also, a group did a skit at the end of our service that really brought the message home. The Youtube video below is not of our church doing it but its the same skit we did.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Ask Pastor John: Guns?

Pastor Tim turned me on to Piper and these little "Ask Pastor John" segments.  Considering our pacifism background I thought this one was pretty interesting.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The American's Patriot Bible

I'm about to make some of you mad I'm sure.  But this disgusts me.  It's one thing to love your country, and I'm ok with that, but when you take your patriotism to this level...  There are so many directions I could go with this.  It's just flat out scary, that we have allowed it to get this far.  

"Intermixed with biblical stories are stories of American heroes" so what does this begin to teach us?  That these two groups of people are on the same level.  

"Pictures that show the rich history and tremendous future of our country" - tremendous future?  Based on biblical texts?  

 "Shows how the history of the United States connects the people and events of the Bible to our lives in a modern world."  What??!!  U.S. history connects the Bible to us??  Does something seem terribly arrogant and backwards about this?

"I'm proud to work with... in putting together a Bible that will impact not only this generation, but generations to come."   So hold putting together this Bible, you combining American history with the Bible is going to impact people.  You.. are going to impact people.  Hmm... 

"...impact generations...for our God and for our country"  Ugh.  

This Bible is so unhelpful.  And downright wrong!

Here's the publishers site for the Bible:

And here's the first part of Greg Boyd's review:

Saturday, May 2, 2009

John Stewart & Cliff May on Torture

Many of you may have already seen this interview on The Daily Show, but even if you have I'd encourage you to watch this unedited version.  It warns you about explicit language at the beginning of each clip, but there's only 2 instances in the last segment that there's any language.  The issue of torture has been talked about quite a bit in the news as of late and whether or not we overstepped our boundaries with how we handled Al-Queda.  I admit I haven't listened/watched/read much news lately so I'm not sure what all the other news programs are saying, but i know that this is probably the most open and honest conversation that you will find on the subject.  There's three separate interviews but each one is only 6-8 minutes long so it won't take you long to watch.  

Friday, May 1, 2009

Tim Keller Sermon - The Grand Demythologizer: The Gospel and Idolatry

What are you making your idol? In this sermon at the Gospel Coalition Tim Keller does an incredible job showing how prevelant idolatry still is in our culture. And makes you take a step back and ask yourself what is your idol.I know that alot of you dont have an hour to sit back and listen to a sermon, but if you get a chance download the audio, put it on your ipod and listen while you're at the gym. These are the things we need to be filling our minds with.

Torture - What Does The Church Think?

One of the questions we in the anabaptist tradition have wrestled with, or at least a tension that we've been aware of, is how do we seperate what is right for the government to do that is not right for us to do as individuals.  Usually this centers around the issue of war, but it extends to many other realms as well.  I think most Christians would say that for us as individuals to torture another is wrong, but what about the government?  

CNN ran an article on a recent survey taken by the Pew Research Center on the churches response to this question.  The question was worded this way:  "Do you think the use of torture against suspected terorists in order to gain important information can often be justfied, sometimes be justified, rarely be justified, or never be justified?" 

49% of those polled responded that torture is often or sometimes justified, while only 25% said that it was never justified.  They break it down into which denomination groups lean heavier either way.  The sad - depending on which way you're coming from - is that the more you go to church the more apt you are to think torture is valid.  It would be interesting to see how the results would vary if you would rephrase the question.  Or perhaps ask it in stages:

Question 1:  Is torture alright? 
Probably not too many yes so far
Question 2:  Is torture by the military/government alright as a means to gain information?
Probably still not too many in agreement but you'll have some move over.
Question 3:  How about for terrorists?
And there go all the yes's.

The problem is that if it isn't alright in the first place it shouldn't matter who it's done to or what the purpose is.  Especially from a Christian worldview.  Do ends justify the means?  (that could actually probably be a good discussion, does the Bible ever promote wrong actions towards a god end).  Can we change our moral behavior based on who the target is - thats a definite no.  In fact it's probably less of a yes for torture when it comes to our enemies.  The Bible has quite a bit to say about how we treat our enemies.  But now we get into the real meat of the issue, this is talking about the government, not the church going out and torturing people.  How do we view that.  Can we proclaim scriptures that say that torture is unethical to a government?  Interesting thought, if you say no, then why do these same groups do that when it comes to abortion.  Interesting thought #2 those who quote those scriptures - which I am guessing theres a large overlap between that group and this group that approves of torture- call themselves Pro-Life, torture seems very Anti-Life.  Again, does the target affect our stance.  Shouldn't we, as Christians, be just as Pro-Life towards terrorists as we are towards unborn babies.  (Now thats an extremely hard pill to swallow).  

What do you think?  I found this article extremely thought provoking.  And somewhat of a gut check.  What would your answer be to that poll question?