Happy Birthday Jesus

Happy Birthday, Jesus. I know that this isn’t your real birthday, because you are uncreated, eternal, and you were unendingly satisfied in perfect union with Father and Spirit before that Christmas morning some 2000 years ago. But I can still say happy birthday to you because you saw fit to lower yourself and become one of us. You performed the most unthinkable miracle possible: you took all the prerogatives of deity and majesty, being fully divine and exalted in your glory, and, molecule by molecule, cell by cell, DNA strand by DNA strand, mysteriously encoded the very life of God into a forming embryo. Although you cannot change, you grew. Your tiny body developed until viability, for you could not have even survived apart from your mother’s nourishing presence. How ironic! You formed Mary in her mother’s womb, and yet her womb formed you. And at just the right time,…

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How to Waste $1,000,000

This article on Chicago Tribune’s website (registration required) describes the ever-expanding pageantry of Christmas productions at the Savannah Christian (mega) Churches where attendees (at $5 a head) get to take a boat ride across a massive lake into Bethlehem, where they mingle with the townspeople who greet them with fresh water, fruit and assorted cheeses. Roman soldiers on white horses lead them along a lighted path, where they encounter the Three Wise Men with a live camel resting at their side. They look on as the archangel Gabriel appears at the Virgin Mary’s home and tells her that she is carrying a child. They watch an evil King Herod, who plots to kill the newborn. Finally, they arrive at the manger, standing close enough to touch the crying baby Jesus. Or try Willow Creek, for example: The Cirque du Soleil-style production at Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington features…

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Should a Christian vote for Mitt Romney?

Foxnews has a list of 21 questions and answers with a Mormon expert. The answers are clearly a cleverly crafted and calculated response in each case, offering ambiguous information and little detail. In fact, several questions received the exact same, word-for-word identical response. It is obvious that Mormons do not invite scrutiny, to put it mildly. I’ve made no secret of my unease with Mitt Romney. Not that he’s a bad candidate, or would even make a bad president. I generally favor his policies. But if Romney is a Christian as he claims, he must be held to the standard of Scripture. In 1 Corinthians 5, then, the criteria for church discipline is that someone “bears the name of brother,” but their lives and doctrine (I Tim 4:6) are contrary to the gospel.

What I’m Learning About Building a Racially Unified Church

I’ve had some interesting conversations lately about Christianity and racial unity. The first was a couple of months ago with a couple who have adopted a bi-racial child. They were part of a church who heavily emphasizes racial reconciliation and shows it with action. This has been a dream of mine, but honestly, until recently, it has seemed near impossible to accomplish. The typical scenario is this: (1) White church wants to be more diverse. (2) They engage in tokenism by hiring a black person to either do music or be a community pastor with emphasis in reaching black folks and trying to get them to come to the white church. (3) He fails. (4) The church abandons the endeavor while patting themselves on the back for trying.

Racial Unity in Church Planting

Laura and I visited Cincinnati today. I was there a week ago and really sensed a leading from the Lord to seriously pursue planting a church there in the urban downtown area. I blogged about it last week. A wise friend told me recently that when you’re looking to plant a new church, you want to see some tangible evidence that God’s hand is in the project and He is working to pull things together. In light of my trip there today, here are some ways that I definitely see God working. 1. This church plant was being planned before I came along. I was fascinated to find out, while meeting the Cincinnati Baptist Association Director of Missions, that his association has determined inner-city Cincinnati as his top priority for this year. While I was thinking that I would have to come into a new city to start a new…

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9 things you’ll see in every movie

I recently attended the Campus Crusade for Christ fall retreat for the University of Louisville ministry (where I am currently on staff). Our speaker was Dr. Bruce Ashford, who is a prof at SEBTS. He gave a great talk about how movies are made and what are some key things to look for when watching a movie. He specifically mentioned 9 characteristics that you’re sure to see when you watch any particular movie, because all stories tend to be told in similar fashion. These 9 things are characteristics found in every movie, but could be expanded to common elements in any story that is well told, including biblical stories. 1. Every story has a point. If it doesn’t, its a lame story.

Racial Unity, Arts, Mercy, College Students and Church Planting

There are several streams of ministry desires that have been in my heart for some time. Some seemed more realistic than others. For example, Laura and I have a strong passion for racial reconciliation, but this problem seems so overwhelmingly difficult that I had relegated it to the “would be nice, but…” status. Essentially, the people that I have spoken with who understand this issue well told me that it would be very difficult for a white man to address the complex issues of black America with any degree of credibility.

Huck-a-blog, movies, and Cincinnati

This isn’t the Huck-a-blog, but since I first mentioned him two months ago on this blog, he’s now leading in Iowa as well as polling very well nationally. Political strategists who are adept at their jobs should begin courting me now to secure an endorsement, because if I can get Huckabee to national recognition by merely mentioning him on my blog, think about what a full blown endorsement would do? On another front, finals are over now and I can spend more time blogging in my pajamas with kids climbing all over me and trying to avoid spilling coffee on my laptop. Although blogging has been minimal, I have been reflecting a lot on many issues and will be doing posts in the coming days about: 1. Christianity and the 9 things you’ll see in every movie 2. Culturally defined masculinity 3. The OT and mercy ministries Finally, I’m off…

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