Dec 212012

“When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled. And he said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.” Jesus wept.”

(John 11:32–36 ESV)

Tonight we have read of another tragedy, another little one called home far too soon by the way we measure how things ought to be.

We struggle for answers as to why…and we offer alternative versions of the events that may have prevented the tragedies from happening.

“Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” (John 11:21–22 ESV)

If we had better gun control, if we had armed guards, if we had done something, anything, else…

We want to believe that we have some control over these kind of events, over life in general and death in particular.

Deep down inside us we know we don’t… and the more we know that, the more we need a blizzard of words and actions to cover that terrible truth….we speak and speculate until the fear dies down and the terrible moment passes.

This world is fallen and reeling and broken and full of risk and terror and so it will be until the Redeemer comes.

We will all succumb to that fallenness despite all of our best plans and effort…but He will come.

Until then we must try to respond as our Lord did…and I believe still does.

We are…

deeply moved,

greatly troubled,

we weep.

In our sorrow we hear Him whisper;

“I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live,and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?””

We believe…help our unbelief.



Dec 212012

Laying aside the historic hostility between us, the entire Phoenix Preacher community extends prayers and condolences to the Lusko family after the home-going of a precious child.

We grieve with you and pray that somehow, some way, the Lord makes the unbearable loss a cross you can carry.

Dec 182012
  1. Which is why, right now, amid the pain, confusion, and heartbreak that our country is feeling and processing, we (as in America’s evangelical churches) should be asking lots of questions. And we should be asking these questions now, while we’re still in the emotional shadows of Friday’s shooting.
  2. There are limits to your freedom.” (warning: language)
  3. Today, as Lee and Sinitiere point out, evangelicals draw millions of followers by reimagining Christianity, and part of this reimagining has been enabled by the normalization of the entrepreneur:
  4. We’ve seen how Washington insiders write the rules of politics and the economy to protect powerful special interests, but now as we enter the holiday season, and a month or so after the election, we’re getting a refresher course in just how that inside game is played, gifts and all.
  5. Sometimes it is downright embarrassing to be an evangelical.
  6. Christianity Today picks the top 12 albums of the year.
  7. Dead Sea scrolls now available online
  8. If you doubt whether God is real, the gospel is true, and sinners really can be transformed, watch this three-minute video.
  9. Credit card skimmers aren’t just at ATMs anymore
  10. Greg Boyd is doing a series of video blogs on why we can trust that the Christmas stories, as told in the Gospels, are reliable. Very insightful.
  11. If Starke wants to claim for Protestant missions continuity between Geneva and Wheaton (the headquarters of Crossway Books and therefore of the Gospel Coalition), he should leave the task of history to licensed professionals.
  12. Pastor Jim McClarty…provides very good (biblical) responses to a critic of Reformed theology
  13. “Bart Ehrman’s new essay in the soon to be out-of-business Newsweek magazine is simply crazy talk.” (quotation comes from last link)
 Posted by at 7:29 pm
Dec 182012

broken-linksThere are lines at the gun stores, but there has been no greater interest in becoming better prayer warriors or learning more about spiritual warfare.

The American church, as is it’s norm, believes it can overcome the darkness by shooting at it.


Why don’t we just admit that we really don’t believe in either supernatural evil or the power of God and be done with it?

As for me and my house, I will not be buying a gun…I’ll be buying oil to anoint my home and my loved ones and I’m committed to keeping those God has entrusted me with in prayer.

We don’t believe in demons, but we believe in demonizing…

Instead of identifying Satan as the power behind the recent tragedy, the new enemy is people with Aspergers Syndrome.

People like my son…

Saw two pastors do it last night on Facebook.

In doing so, they revealed both their ignorance and the murder in my own heart and for that I thank them.


not-by-might-nor-power-jesus-revolution-lonnie-frisbee-paperback-cover-artInteresting book by and about Lonnie Frisbee…

Lots of familiar names to us in the book, but in unfamiliar settings.

I was amused that Frisbee wrote that at the height of his ministry in Costa Mesa, he and his wife were on food stamps…Chuck didn’t pay well.

Lot’s of stories about alleged miracles and revival…Frisbees hero was Kathryn Kuhlman.

It’s not well written, but it is an interesting look at the early years of Calvary Chapel and the Jesus People revival.



Sarah has written another very important article I commend to your reading.



Dec 172012

thinking_man_ape_wood_3d_sculpture_thinker_think-480x3251. This morning, more people are are willing to acknowledge the reality that supernaturally empowered evil exists. The devil is real, demons are real, and as I’ve tried to point out in regard to Mexico…they are very busy. Now that the dead are our own, perhaps we will choose to act soberly and biblically.


2. I was stunned and sickened by those who chose to make the tragedy a political debate on the day when tears and groans were the only proper response. More sickened than stunned…

3. Satan will respect stricter gun control laws as much as he respects any other law…what is it going to take for the church to stop leaning on the power of the government and start leaning on the power of the Spirit? If the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, why do we favor carnal weapons?

4. Mike Huckabee said the tragedy was because “we have systematically removed God from our schools.” I wasn’t aware that anybody could force God out of anywhere…

5. If you want religious instruction in the public schools do you mind if the teacher is a Calvinist? a Catholic? an Anglican? a Mormon?…

6. I work with the public for a living…and the last thing I want to see is more of those hillbillies with weapons…

7. I commend this article by Russell Moore to your reading. “Let’s remember that the One born there is a prince of peace who will crush the skull of the ancient murderer of Eden. Let’s pray for the Second Coming of Mary’s son. And, as we sing our Christmas carols, let’s look into the slitted eyes of Satan as we promise him the threat of his coming crushed skull.”

8. When the weeping has subsided the proper response to this horror is to embrace your own loved ones and purpose to be their intercessor on a daily basis.

9. Another tragedy is that the memories of this one will fade with the next news cycle.

10. We do not weep as those without hope…remember that and repeat it.

Bonus thoughts…

Sarah has written brilliantly about it all here.

Dec 162012

thumbnail.aspxYou stay hidden within that misery

God holy, sovereign, faithful, generous-

that is the first thing we known and affirm at the break of day.

But then, from these old, hard texts we notice

that your holy, sovereign, faithful generous way with us and

with our people is in this endless tale of violence…

war, plunder, rape, incest, deception, and death.

You stay hidden within that misery,

at work even against such circumstance.

We notice that our long-term narrative is just like every other tale,

wreaking with violence, just like every other…

except for you… holy, sovereign, faithful, generous.

We trust your hidden ways today in our narrative

and in all the narratives of violence in force today.

Work your good will,

give us eyes to notice what can be seen of you,

give us faith to trust what stays hidden of you,

give us nerve to obey you this day,

even where we do not see.

We pray in the name of Jesus who confounds all our tales of misery.


Walter Brueggemann

Dec 142012

Where were you, God?

We are crushed with grief, God.

We cannot bear to think of so many people killed.

We cannot bear to think of children being killed.

It is unthinkable to us, the worst tragedy.


Where were you, God?

How could you let this happen?

Why is your world like this?

We are sad and angry and confused.

But God, we know that you know what it means to have

A child die.

For your Son died a violent death.

And we know that your Son understands grief.

For he wept bitterly when his friend Lazarus died.

And he was moved with compassion when he saw suffering.

His heart broke like our hearts do.

He cried like we do today.

We know too that your Son raised Lazarus from the dead.

And that you raised your own murdered Son from the grave,

As a sign of the eternal life you have planned for us.

The life into which you now place the victims, whom you loved.

And love.

We know that you understand our terrible anguish.

You accept our bitterness and our confusion too.

And we know that your Son is beside us, weeping with us.

We know that you are still with us God, in the darkness.

In our compassion for the families and friends of the victims.

In the love that moves us to care for one another.

In the anger that drives us to put an end to violence,

As your Son tried to do in his time with us.

Most of all, eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord,

And let perpetual light shine upon them.

Fr. James Martin

Dec 142012

I have a co -worker who greets me every day with all of the latest news from the Middle East along with whatever hysteria he picked up from Fox News the night before.

He can’t wait to unload about Israel, Assad, the Muslim Brotherhood, etc, and how all of them want to kill us and our government sucks and I really need to lay in some survival supplies.

He’s upset and angry and he wants me to share in his upset and anger and he’s starting to get upset and angry with me because I wont join him in his angst.

He’s beginning to doubt my spiritual integrity if not my salvation.

I’ve decided that I’m going to speak back to him today and this is what I’m going to tell him.

Jesus isn’t coming back today.

Deal with it.

When He does come back, He’s not coming to deal with the enemies of Fox News.

He’s coming back to judge the quick and the dead and to bring heaven and earth together as one.

When He does come back He expects to find us about His work, not smirking at what is about to befall the heathen.

When He does come back He expects to find us sharing what He’s given us, not hoarding supplies from others.

When He does come back, He expects to find us walking in faith, not spreading fear.

A couple thousand years ago angels sang of the the birth of a baby…glad tidings of great joy.

Somewhere today a baby will be born who needs to hear the same song.

We’re the choir.

Stop  complaining and start singing.

Make your own application. 

Dec 112012
  1. Here is one reason you must be called to pastoral ministry: the people you love will not love you back—at least some of them will not love you back.
  2. The God and the Jesus that many conservative Christians envisage is one who is narcissistic and immature.
  3. Is thinking about God a big waste of time?
  4. Science! Making brain cells out of…uh…:shock:
  5. Questions about hell???
  6. Things to keep Christians, atheists, and nearly everyone else awake at night.

  7. “Torn”
  8. What is the nature of human nature? What are we intended to be…. and to do?
  9. I’m going to tell you about a church that made a drastic change to their church property–they added a tiny sticker to their church sign.  And that tiny sticker made a difference.
  10. The West Point cadet who quit over religion.

  11. Mark Driscoll on whether one should or should not smoke pot (HT).
  12. Tax the churches
  13. The Book of Revelation is surprisingly non-final, given how it tends to be interpreted.
  14. The ten ‘coolest’ airports on Earth.

 Posted by at 11:21 pm
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