Dec 102014
 

Here is the list of the Top 50 best selling Christian books in December.

Top50201412

This is the Top 10;

  1.   I Am a Church Member by Thom Ranier
  2.  Not a Silent Night by Adam Hamilton
  3.  Before Amen by Max Lucado
  4.  Agents of the Apocalypse by David Jeremiah
  5.   AHA by Kyle Edelman
  6.  Jesus Calling by Sarah Young
  7.  The Mystery of the Shemitah by Jonathan Kahn
  8.   Autopsy of a Deceased Church by Thom Ranier
  9.   Jesus Calling (Large Deluxe Edition) by Sarah Young
  10.  The Best Yes by Lysa TerKeurst

There are no books in the Top 50 that deal with anything resembling substantial theology or church history.

While I find this very discouraging, I should make a killing with more books about cats…especially if I can create a tie in between kitties and biblical prophecy.

Dec 102014
 

1426163_10152538970789156_1955504315_aToday, 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.

Dec 092014
 

timthumb.phpThe five most disturbing things about a Benny Hinn crusade…

Congregations becoming more racially diverse…

Buddhists learning to sue each other…

Three important trends concerning church attendance…

The Christian intellectual tradition…

The painful lessons of Mars Hill…

Applying your faith at work…

What sociopaths reveal about the existence of God…

The original American creation-evolution debate…

What God says about the arts…

Five things learned from autistic kids…

The great missionary presupposition…

Seven questions volunteers never ask out loud…

The differences between Christianity and other religions…

Advent from the perspective of a martyr killed by the Nazis…

Vatican encourages care of gay and divorced…

The church and mental illness, Part 2….

Some religious responses to the torture report…

Sometimes black sons have white mothers…

Creating a scorecard for churches…

Possible RICO suit for Mars Hill leaders…

Why working women are leaving the church…

My favorite link of the week…beautiful…

Pope Francis contradicts past popes…says all animals go to heaven…

Sarah’s series on Advent continues…

Dec 092014
 

20477_297176542496_4403012_nI had a long, honest, and amicable conversation with Jackie Alnor over the phone yesterday.
While this will no doubt surprise long time readers of the PhxP, it might surprise you more that Jackie actually instigated the conversation with a singular motive of reconciliation.

Let me be really clear here…in the long and conflicted history of the blog, very few people involved in the conflicts have ever reached out to me as one Christian to another.

What Jackie did was worthy of respect…a lot of respect.

While we still have some profound theological differences, we found we had a great deal in common as human beings.

Neither of our lives or our perceived callings have been very easy.

The main thing I want to share with you this morning is about motivations.

Jackie and I both do what we do because we love the Body of Christ and we both believe that what we do is necessary for the health and well being of the Body.

I have often failed to recognize that, but it would be sinful…I have been sinful….in ascribing other motives to her actions.

Jackie is not a bad person or a mean spirited person…she has very very strong beliefs that I don’t share, but that are within the bounds of orthodoxy.

She acts on her beliefs, as do I.

She is a sister in Christ, in truth, a very warm and decent human being.

We won’t bridge the theological differences in this life and we may butt heads in the future…but we will do so as family.

Thank you for your time and for listening, Jackie.

Dec 092014
 

Calvin's Corner headerPastor Michael Newnham and Phil Naessens talk about the Minnesota Vikings defeating the New York Jets in the first ever Calvin’s Corner Bowl, how we should treat Ray Rice, eschatology wars, N.T. Wright and much more Christian talk.

Calvin’s Corner is now on Facebook.

Calvin’s Corner is now on iTunes and Stitcher.

Listen to Calvin’s Corner on great networks Max Sports Channels and The 405 Media.

 

Dec 082014
 

thinking_man_ape_wood_3d_sculpture_thinker_think-480x3251. It’s well worth the time to read Wenatchee The Hatchet’s article on Dave Bruskas beg letter stating that Mars Hill “really needs your help”… just days after Driscoll closed on a million dollar home. My question would then be why in the name of everything holy anyone would support either one of these hucksters with their giving?

Why in the world, Albuquerque, are you letting this guy come back to your town and set up shop again? How can you believe a word that comes out of anyone associated with Mars Hill leadership unless they are words of confession and repentance? All of the media attention has thus far been on Driscoll…but all his assistants are as guilty of crimes against the Body of Christ as he is.

2. This made a lot of people angry when I wrote it the other day, thus, I will write it again. The Bible contains objective truth, but it is discerned subjectively by fallen people using subjective methods and traditions. Outside of the core beliefs of Christianity we each have a set of doctrines and dogmas that we have arrived at by these means. The proper response to this truth is grace toward all those who agree on the core essentials, not war on those whose subjective opinions differ from mine. Those who are willing to die on the hills of secondary doctrines need to be willing to die alone.

3. The correct answer to the question “where is America in bible prophecy?” is how the hell would I know? The Bible doesn’t mention America…or Mexico or Canada or the Stanley Cup playoffs. I’m sure God is fond of them all, but didn’t think they needed to be in the book.

4. My problem with standard dispensational eschatology is that it requires the creation and constant updating of an enemies list. We’ve spent a couple of generations now playing pin the tail on the anti-Christ and declaring people outside the tradition false teachers and purveyors of the doctrines of demons. As the Lord tarries, old names drop off and new ones are added…without apologies to all those slandered before.

5. I’ll say one good thing about the Christmas season…it is the one time when we are collectively looking forward to something positive. There, I did it…

6. Whenever I see a celebrity pastor do a “special” message on end times prophecy, I take it as a sure sign that donations are down…

7. The Gospel is about God choosing to love unlovable people…thus, we are never more Christ like then when we do likewise. When we realize just how difficult that is we get a better understanding of how good the good news is…for us. Despite what my cat thinks, I’m not a lovable bundle of joy myself…

8. No one is doing more damage to the church these days than those who the church damaged first…

9. One of the stranger paradoxes of the Christian life is that the older you get and more knowledge you acquire the more child like your faith becomes…

10. Eric Metaxes has a new book out on miracles that looks interesting, but I haven’t read it because when I see his name I think “right wing political activist”…

phoenixpreacher@gmail.com

Dec 072014
 

thumbnail.aspxOur lives are occupied territory … occupied by a cacophony of voices, and the din undoes us.

In the daytime we have no time to listen,

beset as we are by anxiety and goals and assignments and work,

and in the night the voices are so confusing we can hardly sort out what could possibly be your voice from the voice of our mothers and our fathers and our best friends and our pet projects, because they all sound so much like you.

 

We are people over whom that word shema has been written.

We are listeners, but we do not listen well.

So we bid you, by the time the sun goes down today or by the time the sun comes up tomorrow, by night or by day, that you will speak in ways that we can hear out beyond ourselves.

It is your speech to us that carries us where we have never been, and it is your speech to us that is our only hope.

So give us ears. Amen.
Walter Brueggemann. Awed to Heaven, Rooted in Earth: The Prayers of Walter Brueggemann (p. 56). Kindle Edition.

Dec 052014
 

starbucksI had been up since 4:00 AM and I needed coffee badly.

There was a machine in the break room, they said…a Starbucks machine.

We had exactly fifteen minutes to find it and return to our stations.

Evidently everyone else on this huge campus had the same need…the line looked like the check out at WalMart after 9:00 PM.

I got in the line and waited my turn to buy a cup of hot comfort, no cream.

This was a very uncomforting place for many of us..we had been bankers, managers, administrators, business people with careers… and now we were here ….for minimum wage and no future.

We were already broken and embarrassed as we recognized each other and tried to pretend we weren’t really at the end of all of our ropes.

A little coffee would help…

I had six minutes left on my break when my turn came…I was $1.50 away from feeling semi-human again.

The machine would not take either of the only two one dollar bills I had.

No matter how I straightened, flattened, rubbed, or begged, the machine would not receive my offering.

I didn’t want to just give up, but I couldn’t hold the whole line of comfort seekers up either.

Time was not on my side.

Just as I slid the two worthless dollars back in my jeans, she appeared out of nowhere.

She had sat next to me all morning in class and she was one of the primary reasons I needed comfort.

She never shut up and she had taken to grabbing my hand and my computer mouse to “help” me through the course.

In the prior two hours she had disclosed her entire family history, her medical records, her religious views, and her stated goal of the day, which was to “make me smile”.

I desperately wanted to strangle her.

Now, this thorn in my flesh stood next to me with eight quarters in her hand…”trade me”, she offered.

I did….and smiled as I saw the cup drop and begin to fill up with black redemption.

“I knew I’d get you to smile this morning!”

I couldn’t choke her with one hand while holding my coffee with the other, so I nodded in agreement.

As the coffee cleared my head The Holy Spirit spoke of what her goals for the day were….and what mine were.

She wanted to bless someone, I wanted to survive and be left alone.

I carried a leather pouch full of quarters to work with me the next day…maybe I can do both.

Make your own application…

Dec 042014
 

diversityIn the same piece where Jackie Alnor and friends were predicting that I’d be “left behind” for my eschatology, they also uncovered something far darker about me.

As Jackie said; ‘he’s out of the ecumenical closet”.

 

It is fascinating (in a sick way) that this group equates ecumenicism with something they consider to be among the most vile of sins.

In fact, it is comparing love of the brethren with sodomy.

Equally fascinating is the fact that Jackie has read this blog for many years and knows I’ve never been in the closet about my ecumenicism …or anything else.

Let me be very clear.

I believe in the universal, catholic, church.

I believe in the unity of the Spirit across lines of tradition and denominations.

The Holy Scriptures demand that I love all those who have a common faith in the birth, death, resurrection, ascension, and return of Christ.

It does not demand that I agree with them on all secondary and tertiary issues.

I don’t.

It also demands that my ecumenicism be confined to the Body of Christ…it does not mean that I affirm faiths and traditions outside of it.

Let me clarify further…I am not bound to love all the institutional manifestations of the Body of Christ.

I do not affirm the Roman Catholic church, but I affirm all those within it who confess the name of Christ despite what I believe are the serious errors of the institution.

I have Roman Catholic friends that extend the same courtesy to me.

Let me take this a step farther.

What Brian Brodersen taught here and here (that drew the fire of not only Jackie Alnor and Roger Oakland, but many Calvary Chapel pastors) is  biblical truth.

“Beloved, I am writing you no new commandment, but an old commandment that you had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word that you have heard. At the same time, it is a new commandment that I am writing to you, which is true in him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining. Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling. But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.”

(1 John 2:7–11 ESV)

These prophesy wonks, believing they are the true light bearers, are in truth in the darkness and are leading others into the darkness with them.

“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”

(1 John 4:7–11 ESV)

If you have an issue with it, take it up with the author of those Scriptures.

 

 

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