Helpful Summary of “New-Calvinism”

Here’s a helpful summary of New Calvinism from the resurgence website. New Calvinism is more than a view of how people become Christians, it is a complete worldview which acknowledges God’s total control over the universe. Read it here.

This is simply amazing.

What creative minds can achieve when working together. Stats: four months to build, two days to shoot, 3:54 to watch.

Two Powerful Articles on Idolatry

In my sermon yesterday, I made reference to two articles that have had a great influence on my thinking regarding how sin works and how God defeats it. Here are the links to the articles if you’d like to read them for yourself. The first of these is David Powlison’s, Idols of the Heart and Vanity Fair. Powlison says that humans are, by virtue of being created in God’s image, worshipers. Our hearts will find an object of desire to worship. This is unavoidable. We can either worship the God who created us through faith in Jesus Christ, or we can worship some alternative that promises us fulfillment but fails to deliver. The second publication that I mentioned was a sermon by a Puritan pastor named Thomas Chalmers. He published a sermon entitled The Expulsive Power of a New Affection. He explains that we cannot merely identify an idol and…

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Favorite Hypocritical Church Complaints

I recently came across a blog post that quotes Kevin DeYoung’s book, Why We Love the Church, with some of the typical complaints leveled against the church. We need to love the church, warts and all, because the church is people. I have tweaked DeYoung’s quote a little into a list of favorite church complaints. 1. The church is lame. The ‘church-is-lame’ crowd hates Constantine and notions of Christendom, but they want the church to be a patron of the arts, and run after-school programs, and bring the world together in peace and love. 2. The church is too-programmatic. This crowd bemoans the over-programmed church, but then think of a hundred complex, resource-hungry things the church should be doing. 3. The church is too hierarchical. This crowd doesn’t like the church because it is too hierarchical, but then they hate it when it has poor leadership. 4. The church needs to…

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In Praise of a Boring Ministry

I wonder how many young men would choose to enter the ministry if they knew, from the very beginning, that their churches would never exceed a few dozen people, their salary would always be meager, their church budgets would always be tight, and all their labors would be scarcely noticed by anyone outside of their faithful few? Carl Trueman writes along these lines at his reformation21 blog in a recent post. In a world that is driven by larger than life celebrity personalities, it is no surprise that the church has a few of its own, leading large churches, writing books, and posting podcasts for listeners around the world. Trueman notes that these celebrity churches are led by celebrity pastors who have one-in-a-million type gifts and it is unreasonable to try to replicate this into other churches. Enter new Calvinism. Time Magazine recently pegged new Calvinism as the third most…

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How White Evangelicals Perceive Racial Issues

Divided by Faith, by Michael Emerson and Christian Smith, offers three lenses (page 74) through which white evangelicals typically perceive racial issues. Racial problems are caused by prejudiced individuals, resulting in bad relationships and sin. This is the most common feature of white evangelical perception of race. Along with this is the notion that the best remedies are also individualized. For example, white people and black people should focus their reconciling energies on building relationships with one another, and through this process the divide will heal. Racial problems are caused by other groups, usually African Americans, who try to make race problems a group issue when there is nothing more than individual problems. Since white evangelicals put a great amount of emphasis on individual accountability, some attempts to address racial problems that deals with entire groups of people will be met with resistance. Racial problems are actually a fabrication of…

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The Four Types of Poverty

When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty Without Hurting the Poor and Yourself is a new book by Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert that argues that there are four primary relationships that have been broken by the fall: our relationship with God, our relationship with ourselves, our relationship with others, and our relationship with the rest of creation. Another way to look at this is that these are four different types of poverty. All four of these types of poverty are part of the effects of the fall, and in Christ all four of these types of poverty are being reconciled back to their original place in the created order. Poverty of Spiritual Intimacy. This is the most profoundly and utterly devastating effect of the fall, because it severs us from God himself. Human beings are now profoundly estranged from the very source of all life. Conservative, evangelical Christians are…

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TV in the Home

One of my favorite blogs, Between Two Worlds,  has linked to Randy Alcorn’s advice regarding how to take charge of  television viewing in the home. Keep track of how much time you spend watching. Decide in advance how much TV to watch per week. Use a schedule to choose programs for the week–then stick to your choices. Keep your television unplugged, store it in a closet, and/or put it in a remote part of the house (prevents mindless flip-on). Periodically “fast” from television for a week or a month. Notice the “cold turkey” effects. (Avoids addiction, reminds you of all that can be done when TV off). Choose programs that uplift rather than undermine biblical values. Use the “off” switch freely. If it’s wrong and you keep watching, you’re saying “I approve.” (Unless it doesn’t present temptation and you’re critically analyzing it). Use the channel changer frequently. Watch and discuss…

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10 Ways to be a Great Core Group

I am in the middle of planting a church, Christ the King Church. We are in the core group development phase, and so this post from Luke Simmons is very helpful. Read the whole thing here, but here’s the basic list: 1. Your primary job is to create a culture that you and God will be happy about 10 years from now. 2. Your new pastor and church will eventually disappoint you and let you down. 3. Work to create an evangelistic texture to every ministry environment. 4. Always talk as though nobody knows who your heroes are. Don’t use names of people like “Tim Keller,” “John Piper,” and so on without explaining who they are. 5. Be known by what you’re for, not what you’re against. 6. Don’t moralize your personal preferences. 7. Leave your current church on great terms (or go make it right if you didn’t). 8.…

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Hip Hop + Basketball = Urban Ministry

Great post on about using hip hop and basketball as a means of reaching people. The idea: When we took that drive back in the summer and observed this sub-culture we recognized immediately two predominant things that interested them: basketball and hip hop music. We knew that we had the facilities and guys who could connect with these young men through basketball. We said, “This is out there but what might really be cool is a hip hop service of some kind with open gym afterwards…” The young men: They were 19-29 year old young men who play basketball nearly every single day, wear baggy clothes strategically placed to show off inked skin, work (or don’t work) part time to support various addictions, go from relationship to relationship sometimes producing children, and are heavily influenced regardless of race by hip hop music. These men, we recognized, may be directionless…

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