Friday, March 26, 2010

Links of the Day: 4/1/2010

Interesting links of the day:

Two news items I heard on NPR's Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me:

In the busy society we live in apparently everyone is trying to optomize their schedules. Two bank robbers decide to call ahead to speed up the process only to be surprised when the cops are there waiting for them. See the full story here.

Another set of less-then-intelligent thieves decide to reveal their exploits on Dr. Phil. See full story here.

I appreciated this post on the importance of pastors. Some of the impression that Miller is anti-church, but as you can see from this list he's obviously not. I thought it was a very helpful reminder to be thankful for our pastors.

If you haven't heard, John Piper is taking an 8 month sabbatical. Here's his announcement on why he feels this is necessary. And here is Mark Driscoll and his wife Grace's response to it.

And lastly apparently Don Miller has the inside scoop on things. The View will be having a variety of Christian male leaders fill Hasselbacks role as she will be missing a month of time. Singer/Songwriter Derek Webb will be heading up the group. Should be interesting.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Do You Notice Them?

I found this clip from Piper extremely challenging. Are we so caught up in our lives and in ourselves that we fail to find those around us interesting? I know that I'm often (if not always) guilty of this.

(If you're getting this via facebook you'll have to click "original source" to get to the video)

John Pipers son, Abraham Piper, is one of my favorite bloggers to keep tabs on and not coincidently his blog is all about this very subject. Every night he takes a walk around his city, Minneapolis and blogs about what he sees and experiences. Most of his blogs are about the interactions he has with those he meets on his walks. Its been somewhat eye opening for me to see how easily I just walk right past the people he takes time to talk to and hear their stories. Check it out at Downhill Both Ways.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Glen Beck Tells us to Leave our Churches

I'm not much into posting on politics anymore, but this kept popping up in my google reader today so I thought I'd pass it along.

If you haven't heard it yet on his show last week Glenn Beck urged his listeners to "run from their church" if they heard certain words:
I beg you, look for the words 'social justice' or 'economic justice' on your church Web site. If you find it, run as fast as you can. Social justice and economic justice, they are code words. Now, am I advising people to leave their church? Yes!"
Now what Beck was talking about was the political structures of communism and socialism. However, that statement alone shows part of the problem that happens when an issue becomes part of the political platform.

I say leave your church if you never hear those words! Now before you think I'm going all liberal, hear me out. What we don't want is to build the core of our theology on this. The Gospel is NOT do your best to follow Jesus and establish his kingdom on earth. That is a fruit of the Gospel. We must get the Gospel right first. But after that... If the Gospel never compels you to long for a society that is based on justice and to seek out ways to bring justice both socially and economically then I question whether you're eyes have been opened by the Gospel. I hate to disappoint all those who think along the same lines of Glenn Beck but when I read the prophecies about the Kingdom of God I see a society that screams social and economic justice. And when I read them something inside me shouts "Yes! Thats how its supposed to be.

I realize that what Glenn Beck is saying is run from those "liberal churches." But please don't throw the baby out with the bathwater. As Christians we're apathetic enough when it comes to caring for the world around us, we don't need any encouragement.

Other bloggers responses:
Eugene Cho

Monday, March 1, 2010

Book Log: February 2010

The snow storm may not have been good for work but it was great for getting some reading done. Four of these five books I finished during the week we were snowed in.

Been hearing his name quite a bit so I figure I'd find out who he is. I appreciated this book, which was focused on the Holy Spirit, though it wasn't overly deep or new. But was definitely challenging. Why don't we look any different if the Spirit of God dwells within us?

The Legacy of Sovereign Joy: God's Triumphant Grace in the lives of Augustine, Luther and Calvin - John Piper.

A book on three great giants of our faith. John Calvin, Martin Luther and Jonathan Edwards. It was a short and fairly easy read. Left me wanting to find more in depth biographies on each of these men. Get some Piper in your diet, it'll do ya good.

Worship Matters: Leading Others to Encounter the Greatness of God - Bob Kauflin.

Kauflin is the music director for Sovereign Grace Ministries (or something similar to that title), which is a group I've grown to appreciate greatly as both a worship leader and a Christian who's hungry for theological resources. This is a great book for anyone who leads worship (and by that I mean singing in a corporate church setting), involved in a worship team, or simply interested in the subject. Gives both theological and practical wisdom from a guy with a lot of wisdom

This was my first encounter with Carson, and definitely not my last. The book is written somewhat like a commentary, yet not at such a level that is hard to read. Carson looks at 1 Corinthians and takes five sections and looks at what the death of Christ has to do with each of these areas: 1) Preaching, 2) The Holy Spirit, 3) Factionalism, 4) Christian Leadership and 5) Being a World Christian. Excellent book on what it means to be a cross-centered Christian.

I'm actually not finished with this book, one more chapter so it's close enough. This book looks at the issue of free will from the perspective of church history. It traces the arguments of original sin, mans total depravity and God's effectual grace from the beginning with Augustine and Pelagius to the present. Each chapter presents a different theologian in histories perspective: Luther, Calvin, Arminius, Edwards etc. Sproul is in the Calvinist camp, so the arguments are tilted in that direction. However, the book gives a fair view of both sides and is helpful in seeing how the argument has progressed from long before Calvin vs. Arminius.

And as an added bonus: an old recommendation from my bookshelf.

This is an amazing story of a young boy who gets caught up Sierra Leone's civil war and has to flee for his life leaving behind his family and everything he knows. He eventually gets forced into being a child soldier as a 12 year old. The story is not written from a distant perspective looking in, but the author himself is the one who lived this story. This is not an easy story to digest though. Some of the things that happened to this child are terrible, especially knowing that they are true. But I would highly recommend reading this book to catch a glimpse into the lives that some are forced to live.