Oct 172014
 

IMG_0027Lord, this cat you gave me… she just doesn’t listen.

I told her the rains were coming…she goes out anyway and comes back soaked.

I told her not to lay in weeds…yet everyday she comes in and expects me to pull all the stickers out of her fur….from laying in the weeds.

I told her that as much as it’s up to her to be at peace with all cats…yet she expects me to tend to her wounds from the fights she is always in.

She embarrasses me in front of the neighbors by instigating disputes with their cats…she thinks she owns the whole block.

She is constantly doing what she ought not to do and suffering the consequences.

Worse, she seems to blame all her misfortunes on me…at least she expects me to deal with all the results of her disobedience.

I always do, but she never seems to learn.

Furthermore, Lord…she has never missed a meal, but when she’s hungry she yowls as if she hasn’t had a meal in weeks.

She makes it sound as if I’m a negligent and cruel father.

The truth is that I always feed her and even give her treats.

Just wanted you to know…

To top it all off, she is often distant and ignores me until she wants attention or me to provide something.

This cat makes me feel used.

Sometimes I wonder if she loves me, or just loves what I can give her.

It’s a pretty one sided relationship.

Despite all of this, I love the cat and I’ve chosen to keep her.

Lord, that makes no sense, but I know you’ll understand…

 

Make your own application…

 

 

Oct 162014
 

imagesMark Driscoll’s resignation is both a victory and a loss.

The tyrant has been felled, but the truth and the larger Body of Christ have not been served.

The choice Driscoll faced was between acting as a corporate leader or the leader of a church.

In the corporate world, you cut your losses, protect your resume, and move on to the next opportunity.

In the church, there is supposed to be repentance, restitution, and restoration.

This was a corporate resignation.

The wounded and abused have not been validated, the wrongs have not been confessed or addressed, and there was no opportunity to forgive and restore.

If Mark Driscoll really wanted to “make Jesus famous” he had a golden opportunity to do so.

Jesus is famous for forgiving sins and restoring broken people…the only requirements are confession and repentance.

Driscoll could have modeled how that works.

He could have lived the Gospel in front of his people.

Had he chosen to do so…to honestly and humbly deal with his sin and work through a biblical process with his church…I believe grace would have flowed like a river.

The world that has watched this debacle unfold could have seen how Christ makes a difference in the lives of His people.

Those who have suffered at his hand could have been comforted and restored.

The financial and ethical issues could have been addressed and resolved.

The local Body could have been healed.

People could have seen the grace and mercy of Jesus at work in a leader and believed they could receive it too…it would have empowered the Gospel to thousands.

That… would have been a true biblical “victory” that honored Christ.

Instead the Body is split, the wounded must heal on their own, and others will clean up the mess.

Driscoll remains in his sins and the corporate model of “church” has survived another scandal.

Jesus wept.

Oct 152014
 

Screen-shot-2013-12-04-at-7.18.39-PM-620x343It’s way too early to assess this, but I have a few thoughts on the matter.

First, I don’t buy the spin.

 

 

There is no repentance or brokenness in the resignation letter, rather it is a platform for him to clearly state that he was not biblically disqualified according to his board.

This accomplishes two things.

Sources say that he receives a years salary in a settlement if he were to leave without cause.

It also sets up any future endeavors he may wish to pursue.

Furthermore, I don’t believe that he just woke up this morning and decided it was in everyones best interests if he were to leave.

Everything I know about situations like this points to a fear of further disclosures.

There was much more to this decision and we may or may not find out what it was that pushed him over the top.

In any event, I expect him back, back quickly, and many of us are looking at Orange County, CA…that “mission field” that everyone wants a piece of.

This resignation may be a harbinger of things to come…of a change in the landscape of American evangelicalism.

Driscoll’s resignation was a long time coming…I wrote my first articles about his ways in 2007 when social media as we know it was a toddler.

Social media and negative press wasn’t and isn’t enough to make these sort of regime changes.

Social media is dependent on sources and sources have to come from the inside.

What tipped this battle was that insiders came forth, by name, and affirmed what the social media were saying.

That, along with the mountain of evidence and the pile of bodies that resurrected behind the bus were too much for the PR experts to overcome.

To simplify my thesis, it’s now been proven that the masses can topple a tyrant if enough of them stand together and the cause is righteous.

That…is the big takeaway from today.

Trust me when I say that some tyrants understand that now…

 

 

 

Oct 152014
 

daddydriscollMark Driscoll has resigned as pastor of Mars Hill church.

The resignation letter:

October 14, 2014

Michael Van Skaik

Chairman, Board of Advisors and Accountability

Mars Hill Church

Dear Michael:

By God’s grace I have pastored Mars Hill Church for 18 years. Today, also by God’s grace, and with the full support of my wife Grace, I resign my position as a pastor and elder of Mars Hill. I do so with profound sadness, but also with complete peace.

On August 24th I announced to our Mars Hill family of churches that I had requested a leave of absence from the pulpit and the office for a minimum of six weeks while a committee of elders conducted a formal review of charges made against me by various people in recent times. Last week our Board of Overseers met for an extended period of time with Grace and me, thereby concluding the formal review of charges against me. I want to thank you for assuring Grace and me that last Saturday that I had not disqualified myself from ministry.

You have shared with us that this committee spent more than 1,000 hours reviewing documents and interviewing some of those who had presented charges against me. You have also shared with me that many of those making charges against me declined to meet with you or participate in the review process at all. Consequently, those conducting the review of charges against me began to interview people who had not even been a party to the charges.

I readily acknowledge I am an imperfect messenger of the gospel of Jesus Christ. There are many things I have confessed and repented of, privately and publicly, as you are well aware. Specifically, I have confessed to past pride, anger and a domineering spirit. As I shared with our church in August, “God has broken me many times in recent years by showing me where I have fallen short, and while my journey, at age 43, is far from over, I believe He has brought me a long way from some days I am not very proud of, and is making me more like Him every day.”

Prior to and during this process there have been no charges of criminal activity, immorality or heresy, any of which could clearly be grounds for disqualification from pastoral ministry. Other issues, such as aspects of my personality and leadership style, have proven to be divisive within the Mars Hill context, and I do not want to be the source of anything that might detract from our church’s mission to lead people to a personal and growing relationship with Jesus Christ.

That is why, after seeking the face and will of God, and seeking godly counsel from men and women across the country, we have concluded it would be best for the health of our family, and for the Mars Hill family, that we step aside from further ministry at the church we helped launch in 1996. I will gladly work with you in the coming days on any details related to our separation.

Recent months have proven unhealthy for our family—even physically unsafe at times—and we believe the time has now come for the elders to choose new pastoral leadership for Mars Hill. Grace and I pledge our full support in this process and will join you in praying for God’s best for this, His church, in the days and years ahead. Grace and I would also covet your prayers for us as we seek God’s will for the next chapter of our lives. Therefore, consider this written notice of my voluntary termination of employment.

Finally, it would be my hope to convey to the wonderful members of the Mars Hill family how deeply my family and I love them, thank them, and point them to their Senior Pastor Jesus Christ who has always been only good to us.

Sincerely,

Pastor Mark Driscoll

From Mars Hill:

From Mars Hill Church:
On Tuesday, October 14, Pastor Mark Driscoll submitted his resignation as an elder and lead pastor of Mars Hill Church. The Board of Overseers has accepted that resignation and is moving forward with planning for pastoral transition, recognizing the challenge of such a task in a church that has only known one pastor since its founding. We ask for prayer for the journey ahead.
As is well known, inside and outside of Mars Hill, Pastor Mark has been on a leave of absence for nearly two months while a group of elders investigated a series of formal charges brought against him. This investigation had only recently been concluded, following some 1,000 hours of research, interviewing more than 50 people and preparing 200 pages of information. This process was conducted in accordance with our church Bylaws and with Pastor Mark’s support and cooperation.
While a group of seven elders plus one member of the Board of Overseers was charged with conducting this investigation, the full Board of Overseers is charged with reaching any conclusions and issuing any findings. In that capacity, we believe it appropriate to publicly mention the following:
We concluded that Pastor Mark has, at times, been guilty of arrogance, responding to conflict with a quick temper and harsh speech, and leading the staff and elders in a domineering manner. While we believe Mark needs to continue to address these areas in his life, we do not believe him to be disqualified from pastoral ministry.
Pastor Mark has never been charged with any immorality, illegality or heresy. Most of the charges involved attitudes and behaviors reflected by a domineering style of leadership.
We found some of the accusations against Pastor Mark to be altogether unfair or untrue.
Other charges had been previously been addressed by Pastor Mark, privately and publicly. Indeed, he had publicly confessed and apologized for a number of the charges against him, some of which occurred as long as 14 years ago.
We commend Mark for acting upon the vision God gave him to start Mars Hill Church and for his ministry of faithfully teaching the Word of God for the past 18 years. We commit to pray for him, for Grace, and for their children as they transition from ministry at Mars Hill Church.
We would ask for patience as we now make plans for the first transition of pastoral leadership in the history of Mars Hill Church. We have asked Pastor Dave Bruskas to serve as the primary teaching pastor while we work on long-term plans and decisions. Our elders and board members will work closely with the church staff to support the ongoing operations of Mars Hill in the days and months ahead.
Finally, Mark Driscoll was not asked to resign; indeed, we were surprised to receive his resignation letter. While he can speak to his decision as he chooses, we would point to just two things from his letter. He noted that he had concluded “it would be best for the health of our family, and for the Mars Hill family, that we step aside from further ministry at the church.” Secondly, he specifically wanted to convey “to the wonderful members of the Mars Hill family, how deeply my family and I love them, thank them, and point them to their Senior Pastor, Jesus Christ, who has always been only good to us.”
Mars Hill Board of Overseers
Michael Van Skaik
Larry Osborne
Jon Phelps
Matt Rogers

Oct 152014
 

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.

Oct 142014
 

timthumb.phpVatican changes its tune on same sex marriage…

Response from a Catholic writer…

Who are man and woman?

Jepthas vow…

A world without missionaries…

Gossip and prayer requests…

Three lessons the church can learn from the NFL…

Tim Keller on prayer as conversation…

What a creep…

What Christians should know about Ebola…

Jason Stellman writes for the Internet Monk…

Does the Bible really contradict itself?

The skeletons in God’s closet…

The history of Christian theology in 1000 words…

Another take on the story of the young woman seeking assisted suicide…

New poll shows fewer Americans believe homosexuality is a sin…

Hell and Mr. Fudge…

Steve Brown on the dark night of the soul…

Kay Warren on suicide and mental illness…

Sarah on the necessity of luxury…

Wenatchee the Hatchet on the latest from the Mars Hill debacle…

Oct 132014
 

thinking_man_ape_wood_3d_sculpture_thinker_think-480x3251. I started teaching through the book of Romans last night, which required that I spend the previous two weeks studying it in preparation. To make a long story short, the text of Romans 1 obliterates the current social and religious attempts to legitimize homosexuality and gay marriage. As most of you know, I tend to lean left on social issues and I always want to be as gracious as possible to sinners, because I am one.

I wanted to find a loophole in the text…but there simply isn’t one.

The only way you can legitimize homosexuality is to deny the text…not just the text of Romans 1, but the Gospels and Genesis.

Paul’s argument is drawn from from the creation narrative and from Jesus affirmation of it in the Gospels…it’s the teaching of the whole of Scripture.

Thus, the battle over homosexuality is not just a moral issue, but one of the authority of Scripture…which is denied by those who “by their unrighteousness suppress the truth” (Romans 1:18 ESV)

In my desire to be someone who is as gracious as possible, I almost became one who would sacrifice… “suppress”… the truth in order to be at peace with men.

To do would compromise my faith and violate my conscience.

The task now is to become someone who can speak the truth “in love”.

2. That phrase about suppressing the truth brought to mind how much the truth is indeed being suppressed, and not only about homosexuality… like the new cultural canard that Islam is a religion of peace…

3. Whenever a church has to hire a public relations firm to control the flow and content of information, be assured that the truth is being suppressed in unrighteousness…

4. I willingly fell victim to the falsehood that because the church has so many moral and ethical issues of it’s own that it’s bad form to comment on the sins of the culture around us. We have to do both…but our focus should be on cleaning our own house first.

5. Writing about the church has become difficult for me as I believe that evangelicalism in this country is in the midst of a radical change…I can’t define it or explain it yet, but what has been is not what will be.

6. After five weeks of the new football season, I’m glad hockey season has started…

7. A California woman with terminal brain cancer has moved to Oregon in order to die by medically assisted suicide. I’m at a loss to know how I would counsel her from a Christian perspective….

8. Fall is an exercise in being in enjoying the moment and not reminding yourself that it is a portent of winter…

9. The internet has leveled the field…everyone can have a voice and a platform. That does not mean that all voices and platforms are of equal worth… 

10. Despite all the cultural and political attempts to suppress the truth, my guts (and the Scriptures) tell me that people know it anyway…and there is a backlash coming. May it come with grace and be spoken in love.

 

Oct 122014
 

thumbnail.aspxWe have learned to speak almost every language except our own.

We are well schooled in the language of hate and of fear and of greed and of anxiety.

We know the language of domination and of excessive deference.

We understand completely the grammar of liberalism and conservatism, rhetoric that is revolutionary and reactionary.

But we are strangers in a strange land.

Teach us afresh to trust our mother tongue of praise and grief.

We thank you for our speech teachers, of many mothers and fathers in many times and many places and many cultures – all of whom know better than do we the ways of truth that heal and of life that enlivens.

Be your true word on our lips and receive our utterances back to you.

We thank you for our mother tongue come in the flesh.

Amen.
Walter Brueggemann. Awed to Heaven, Rooted in Earth: The Prayers of Walter Brueggemann (p. 72). Kindle Edition.

Oct 112014
 

 

On this edition of Calvin’s Corner Pastor Michael Newnham and syndicated radio host Phil Naessens congratulate the Stanley Cup Champion Los Angeles Kings, talk New York Jets and Minnesota Vikings NFL football, take a closer look at a blog posting made by Dr. James White directed at former Calvinist turned Roman Catholic Jason Stellman and the guys and answer a listeners question about the differences between Hyper Calvinists, Calvinists and New Calvinists.

Calvin’s Corner is now on iTunes and Stitcher.

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

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