Monday, April 4, 2011

Reading Outside of Christian Literature

There is a great post today over on Tim Challies' blog giving a rationale for why Christians should read beyond their holy huddle of trusted Christian authors. While readily confessing that reading Christian authors is a good thing (and I certainly agree) Challies challenges us to read outside of this narrow sliver of published works. He gives 4 basic reasons for this encouragement.

1) Common Grace

2) Cultural Engagement

3) To practice discernment

4) There is much to learn

Read more of his rationale here.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

And on a more personal note...

Psalm 127:3
Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.

I was praying with my children last night. Well, that’s the way the pastor side of me would like to start this story, though in reality it isn’t really the full truth. Allow me to start over.

One of my daughters was defiantly disobeying her father’s instruction last night just before bed-time. Well, that’s the self-righteous side of me which would like to offer justification for being a harsh and unloving father. Crud. I guess I’ll try this again.

I lost my temper and was unkind to one of my children last night. Yep, that’s pretty much it. With that confession out of the way, here is Paul Harvey’s “rest of the story”.

As we were preparing the children for bed-time last night things were running along nicely for the most part. The 5 year old was down in his room after an afternoon of hard playing at the park, the 2 year old was headed towards an appointment with “Goodnight Moon” and I was working with the 9 and 8 year old to get them in bed.

It was a later night than usual for several reasons and I was feeling the pressure of finishing up so that I could have at least a brief conversation with my wife before she herself lost coherency and succumbed to her own exhaustion. Man, there I go again. That isn’t really true either. Actually I was attempting to rush the whole bed time thing because Hawaii Five-0 was coming on and I wanted to turn my brain off for a while. (If you haven't seen this re-make, you really don't need many brain cells to keep up with the plot. Which, after years of brain cramps caused by LOST, is actually somewhat refreshing.)

So the harder I worked towards getting them in the bed, the more excuses they found to not do what I was asking. The 9 year old eventually pursued one superfluous chore too many and I lost it. Now before you call the church office or DHR, understand that I am not much of a yeller. My “loosing it” is actually fairly steady and even keel, and I used to take great pride in that fact. In actuality however, the older I get the more I see how I can be just as destructive and unloving in my “steadiness” as any rage-a-holic. May God’s gracious process of sanctification continue in my own heart.

After registering my displeasure with my daughter’s disobedience in a less than fatherly and loving way, I noticed her face slowly beginning to distort. It was that distinct facial contortion of a little girl who feels that tears may be just around the corner, but they don’t want to give you the satisfaction of seeing them. It was the face of one who had received a deep wound. And as is often the case, the wound was too deep and the feminine childhood hormones were too powerful for her to hold back the flood.

At this point, not knowing what to do with the explosion of female emotion (and in reality which of us men really does?), I asked my 8 year old daughter to begin her night-time prayers. Now for all my faults as a father, God really has actually blessed me with children who are fairly spiritually mature. My 8 year old, having just witnessed this entire scene, proceeds to pray a Spirit-filled prayer for forgiveness and reconciliation which filleted my chest wide open, and exposed my heart to the Gospel once again. By the time she reached her “amen” I could do nothing else but repent, ask forgiveness and seek reconciliation.

For her part, the 9 year old confessed her lack of obedience and attempted to take the blame for the whole scene. In her words, if she had not disobeyed then I would not have spoken angrily to her. Thankfully the Holy Spirit spoke with a wisdom which I do not often possess. Under Divine guidance I complimented her valiant attempt at martyrdom and thanked her for her sensitivity, but refused to allow her to take the blame for my own sin. In the end forgiveness was requested and given all around and relationship was restored.

For all of the chaos of the evening, the three of us ended up in a 20 minute conversation ranging from original sin, forgiveness, the necessity of Jesus’ crucifixion and the mystery of the Trinity. I walked out of their room amazed at both the goodness of God and the depth of a child’s understanding.

I really wish these kinds of moments happened more often. I pray that I would be able to quickly see my own sin and repent boldly in front of my children. If this occurs, then perhaps they, through watching my fumbling example, would be able to grow up with a healthy understanding of both severity of their own sin and totality of their forgiveness in Christ. And in so doing, maybe they would begin to grasp the absolute necessity of casting themselves in weakness upon the only One who can truly redeem broken things. Judging by their example last evening, they certainly seem to be on the right track.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Over at The Fixed Point Foundation, Executive Director Larry Taunton has an interesting initiative going on. He and others have spent the past year marshaling resources and creative talent to create a Super Bowl commercial highlighting, not beer, not potato chips, not a political agenda, but rather the simple hope of the gospel articulated in John 3:16.

You can hear Larry talk about the motivating vision behind this initiative here.

He also discusses this in a little more detail over on his blog in a post entitled "Finding God at the Super Bowl.

After the game on February 6th, you should be able to catch the commercial on the website for this initiative entitled

Oh yeah, and extra bonus points to whoever can catch how many Oak Mountain Church members show up as extras in this commercial!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Entrepreneurship Initiative

The Entrepreneurship Initiative. Using business and entrepreneurship as a vessel through which the Gospel might renew and build culture anew. All I have to say is "Wow."

EI Overview from Redeemer Video on Vimeo.

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Four Holy Gospels

Wow! Makoto Fujimura discussing his work for the forthcoming illuminated manuscript The Four Holy Gospels.
ht Justin Taylor

Fujimura - 4 Holy Gospels from Crossway on Vimeo.

"We today have a language to celebrate waywardness but we do not have a language, a cultural language, to bring people back home. And so everything I do, my paintings, the International Arts Movement, everything has something to do with that." ~ Makoto Fujimura

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Reason for God DVD Series

Looking for a model of how to interact with non-believers over their questions regarding Christianity? Take a look below.
ht Tim Challies

The Reason for God Trailer from Redeemer City to City on Vimeo.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Who's Game?

I have mentioned Joe's Place in a previous post. Joe's Place is a collaboration between Crossroads Fellowship, a PCA congregation in Maplewood, MO, and the Maplewood Richmond Heights School District to address the very real issue of homelessness among the student population.

Click here to see an updated glimpse into their story.

I have also mentioned in a previous post that 12% of Birmingham City School students are listed as homeless. So who's game?