Aug 262014
 

timthumb.phpWhy some people aren’t embracing the “ice bucket challenge”. I still believe it’s done great good…

Between sweetness and nausea…

The dangers of measurable outcomes…

Who will stand up for Christians?

Keller on polarization…

Grace and salvation…

Will white evangelicals ever recognize systemic injustice?

Questioning the “man of God”…

The insincere campaign against sincerity…

Through the eye of a needle…

The wrong kind of Christian…

The Islamic state is evil returned…

Ebola and the glory of God…

In defense of inerrancy…

What is a good historian?

ISIS as an apocalyptic cult…

Aug 252014
 

thinking_man_ape_wood_3d_sculpture_thinker_think-480x3251. The Mark Driscoll saga is over.

Bloggers will continue to blog, the reporters will continue to report, but the conclusion has been reached.

Borrowing the template that Skip Heitzig used to survive his crisis, Driscoll “apologized” for unspecified offenses against unspecified people, hired a public relations firm, and stepped aside so that people with no authority to discipline him can “investigate” him.

In reality, it’s letting the storm pass before resuming the game…which he’s already won.

It was a masterful display of what our Babylon’s Dread brilliantly called “obfuscation by piety”… after which the crowd shouted it’s love for him and gave him a standing ovation.

Game, set, match, Mark.

All the cannons have been fired, the ammunition is exhausted, and so is the army of wounded warriors that have tried to bring him to repentance.

They were defeated not by Mark, but by the congregation they were trying to protect.

Driscoll will return and thrive…and that pile of bodies behind the bus will grow exponentially as the tyrant takes his revenge.

It will take about two years for him to rebuild the numbers and the finances…and for his famous friends to be seen with him in public, though they are proving helpful behind the scenes.

The people have spoken…they want their king and they will walk right over the bodies of the fallen to praise him and make their offerings to Baal.

2. This was a critically important test case for the power of social media to bring reform. If Driscoll could be taken down, lesser lights would have no chance, and many independent pastors were squirming. Turns out they had nothing to worry about, unfortunately.

3. The American celebrity church cares nothing about biblical standards, ethics, or virtues. It cares about success and social and economic stature. Thus, it is anti-Christ no matter how often it speaks the name of Jesus.

4. 1st Corinthians 12:14-26 speaks of the importance of every member of a local church body. American celebrity evangelicalism stacks up the bodies in a pile at the behest of the only person it finds worthy…

5. We have been defeated by yet another windmill…might be time to return both the lance and donkey.

6. The Beatitudes teach us that those who represent the kingdom will hunger and thirst after righteousness. Righteousness and justice are almost biblical synonyms…and if you’re seeking either in this church culture you will die from starvation and dehydration.

7. These battles aren’t just over the sins of leaders…they are battles for the soul of the church. My concern is that we’ve sold our souls for a mess of pottage and multiple screens.

8. Note to self: God always works through a remnant. Find the remnant and see how you can serve them.

9. Note to self: God is still on the throne. Chill out and see #8.

10. I was going to write a long article about the border and ISIS, but thought better of it. Let me just say that wealthy terrorist organizations don’t risk dying in the desert…they fly in first class. I understand the need to make political hay while the sun shines, but it leaves us vulnerable elsewhere.

Aug 232014
 

thumbnail.aspxYou voice the worlds into being,

You voice the church into obedience,

You voice us, now and then, into newness,

You speak and call into existence that which does not exist.

You speak and address us, and make all things new.

And we should answer you:

 

we in our shabbiness before your splendor,

we in our timidity before your magnificence,

we in our poverty before your wealth,

we in our foolishness before your wisdom.

We stammer and stutter and pause and parry, silent, mute, reluctant, with only one gift back to you-that of tongue.

So for our tongues-thousands and thousands of them, we give you thanks:

that we may speak back to you your wonder,

that we may sing back to you your presence,

that we may vow back to you our obedience.

You speak and we are, You listen and we are voiced, always again on our way rejoicing.

Amen.
Walter Brueggemann;Anna Carter Florence. Inscribing the Text: Sermons and Prayers of Walter Brueggemann (Kindle Locations 329-332). Kindle Edition.

Aug 222014
 

5d6480146b0dcc0e8b3111aede82a858So…I wasn’t going to write a TGIF this morning.

I’m not feeling well…haven’t felt well for a while.

A long while.

The storms keep rolling through.

I’ve spent more than a year being sick, stressed, and broke and some days the combination takes me out.

That’s not what I want to write about though.

 

I want to tell you what I’ve learned from more than a year where I’ve been totally dependent on God…a year where every morning I wake up staring into one abyss or another.

This has been more than a year of losing my pride, my dignity, and my cultural “manhood”.

I’ve lost…a lot.

I’ve gained more.

The one thing I’ve never lost is hope…hope that God was in the storm, hope that God would end the storm, hope that God was God even if the storm never ends.

God is the one who has both given and sustained that hope.

God has then blessed that which He has given…as if I had done something pleasing to Him on my own.

The art of living by faith consists of being put at the end of your rope on a continual basis and choosing to let go, believing you will be caught.

You will be.

You’ve heard that He is faithful…I can testify that He is.

You’ve heard He can be trusted…I can testify that He can be.

You’ve heard that He loves you…I can testify that He does.

I am an eye witness to all of the above.

I swear it’s all true.

Your circumstances do not reflect God’s heart toward you.

It could be that the darker they are, the more He loves you.

There are beautiful things that happen in storms…and in storms alone.

Make your own application…

Aug 212014
 

daddydriscoll21 former Mars Hill pastors have brought formal charges against Mark Driscoll.

The charges present a compelling case that Driscoll is disqualified from the ministry.

The fascinating (and vitally important) thing to note here is that there is no sexual failure here, which is typically the only way to demand removal of rogue pastors.

This is all about the moral failure of abusing pastoral authority and the people of God.

It’s well past time we understood that such is as much of a moral failure as adultery and fornication.

This situation is now at the tipping point…if the reports of declining attendance are true, this new set of charges could bring the organization down.

rdozlerDoveMeanwhile in Calvary Chapel land…

There is a big dust up over an affiliation agreement sent out by Northwest regional Wayne Taylor.

There was confusion over whether it was for existing CC’s to reapply, or for new affiliates.

It was for new affiliates…and according to our crack legal team it’s not worth the paper it was written on.

It simply isn’t written as a legally binding document.

Here’s the reality.

The dove is public domain.

I can fly the dove, you can fly the dove, the Hells Angels can fly the dove if they want to.

The only “authority” the CCA has is to put you on the list of “approved” CC’s.

Period.

That doesn’t stop you from being an “unapproved” CC…

There’s more to say, but it will have to wait….

Aug 202014
 

1426163_10152538970789156_1955504315_aThe word is that Saeed Abedini is being threatened in prison by the same group that recently beheaded American journalist James Foley.

It goes without saying that we all must redouble our efforts to win Saeed’s freedom before he meets a similar fate.

 

My question this morning is about how we react to Foley’s murder in particular and radical Islam in general..

When I read of it the reaction of my gut and soul was pure rage toward his killers along with great sympathy for his family.

The Bible says to “love your enemy”…even the enemy who would slaughter you.

Whether I like it or not, (and I don’t) that’s a non negotiable.

My heart today is to seek out all of this group and slaughter them before they kill anyone else.

I would approve of my government doing so.

I passionately hate radical Islam and believe it to be not only evil, but supernaturally empowered by the father of evil.

That doesn’t erase that verse…it makes it very difficult to read and harder to obey.

Today, like every Wednesday, we will remember Saeed Abedini.

We do more than just remember, however…we stand with him by using our social media to advocate for his release.

We ask that you change your Facebook profile picture to his and that you “like”  the “Free Saeed” Facebook page and participate in some of the activities that promote his cause.

We ask…that you remember him and his family in prayer…and that you refuse to give up on efforts to secure his release.

 

 

 

Aug 192014
 

timthumb.phpFive principles of the new sexual morality…

Enjoying God…

Black pastor fears coming to America…

Praying the Bible with Matthew Henry…

Matt Chandler on white privilege…

The problem with Christian films…

21 things Christians say that hurts their credibility…

Sarah…good stuff.

I can’t stand this guy…but he’s right about Ferguson.

How do we promote personal holiness?

Seven conservative truths confirmed by Ferguson…

A pastoral approach to depression…

New edition out of Themelios, a Reformed journal.

Praying through a sleepless night…

What the church can learn from A.A…

Why did Driscoll get such a long leash?

The forgotten Christian world…

Aug 182014
 

thinking-pic1. When…I must ask again,when.. will we learn to stop making judgments on the eternal destiny of deceased celebrities?

Why can we not just mourn with those who mourn and pray that the departed were found by Christ before they left us?

 

2. Dear fundamentalist Facebookers… when we speak of someone “wrestling with their personal demons” we are usually speaking metaphorically and not of actual imps from hell. Thank you, please make a note of this going forward.

3. I just saw that Mars Hill is down to about 7500 people…who obviously are poorly taught because they care nothing about biblical ethics or standards.

4. I’m extremely weary of the criticism by some over the “relentless” campaign to bring Ergun Caner and Mark Driscoll to repentance. Let me assure you that if either one of those men placed you under “church discipline” they would be “relentless” in demanding yours. Evidently, if a celebrity pastor holds out long enough we’re supposed to grant an unconditional pardon based on endurance, not repentance.

5. Furthermore, please flush the old saw about “letting God handle it” in regard to corrupt pastors. God works through means and the means He usually works with are people acting in obedience to His word. God is handling these situations…and He’s using social media as part of the means to do so. Deal with it.

6. I do not deny that rogue pastors ministries produced fruit. I simply assert that the greatest fruit they could bear would be to teach their people how to repent and receive the grace of God.

7. I think the single most important theological development in my lifetime is N.T. Wrights exposition of the kingdom of God. Nothing else has brought such purpose and refreshment to my faith.

8. I find it to be a truth that when I am most concerned about my external righteousness is when my heart is farthest from God.

9. I find it to be a truth that when I strive to be “somebody” I cease being who I was fearfully and wonderfully created to be.

10. There is little more frustrating than longing to show mercy to someone who doesn’t realize they need it. Long to do so anyway…

Finally, today, I’m teaching through the Beatitudes and came across this gem from Luther quoted by Kent Hughes on “being hungry and thirsty for righteousness”.

‘The command to you is not to crawl into a corner or into the desert, but to run out, if that is where you have been, and to offer your hands and your feet and your whole body, and to wager everything you have and can do.’ What is required, he goes on, is ‘a hunger and thirst for righteousness that can never be curbed or stopped or sated, one that looks for nothing and cares for nothing except the accomplishment and maintenance of the right, despising everything that hinders this end. If you cannot make the world completely pious, then do what you can.’

Do what you can today…

phoenixpreacher@gmail.com

 

Aug 162014
 

thumbnail.aspxLight from light

Creation from chaos

Life from death

Joy from sorrow

Hope from despair

Peace from hate

All your gifts, all your love, all your power.

 

All from your word, fresh from your word, all gifts of your speech.

We give thanks for your world-forming speech.

Thanks as well for our speech back to you, the speech of mothers and fathers who dared to speak in faith and unfaith in trust and in distrust in grateful memory and in high hurt.

We cherish this speech as we trust yours.

Listen this day for the groans and yearnings of your world, listen to our own songs of joy and our own drudges of death, and in the midst of our stammering, speak your clear word of life in the name of your word come flesh.

Amen.
Walter Brueggemann. Awed to Heaven, Rooted in Earth: The Prayers of Walter Brueggemann (p. 70). Kindle Edition.

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