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Archive for October, 2007

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This verse was in my mind today:

18For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19For it is written:
   “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;
      the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”[c]

(FROM 1Corinthians 1:18)

I was involved with evangelism today, with this Christian club tabling

It was instantly crazy, when this guy who was mocking the Christian faith two days ago coming to our table

THe guys and gals from the club recognized him

He got angry instantly and a crowd circled us

He said everything was a dream and an illusion (but then he said that I was in “reality” stupid!)

I didn’t say much but he felt that the listening crowd was ganging up on him

I barely got to point out some logical fallacies he committed let alone fully interaction with his worldview

He was so spiteful and insulting that the nonbelievers in the crowd was trying to plead him to calm down; a fight almost broke out between him and another non-Christian that was agreeing with him because he was so mean to everyone

I talked to the nonbeliever that almost punched the first guy; it was more decent and more calm and I thought we had some meaningful exchange

That at least was proof that there can be dialogues where those who disagree can be respectful

After the second guy, a third guy arrived, who returned from last week

He ended up saying he was a relativist and denied the laws of non-contradiction and had a “do what ever you want” philosophy

So I took his wallet out of his pocket from his jeans and I kept his ten dollars and I asked if it was right or wrong; he said its right only if I have a need and I mentioned about my debt from UCLA so it was justified in his worldview…he chuckled and got the idea but wanted the money back: I gave it to him back.

In denying the laws of noncontradiction, he ended up affirming that the blue male cow did indeed shoot JFK in November 22nd 1963 but that *SHE* was indeed all *green* and *did not exist* while being *half-pregnant* so *it* did *not shoot* the *purple platypus* in the *near future*but instead saved Barney the Purple *Alligator* that was Clinton’s mom

(You might go, what?, my point exactly)

I asked him when his take-home midterms was due: He said in two week and I told him that two weeks meant many weeks from now, or the finals week to be exact. He agreed.  Then I added it was also due last week so he might as well hand me his unfinished paper to be thrown away since it was too late.

HE was trying to be consistent with his denial of noncontradiction

Yet, in order to be consistent, he was acting inconsistent to what his worldview is

Let Scripture informs us,

18For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19For it is written:
   “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;
      the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”[c]

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Why the most influential church in America now says “We made a mistake.”

Few would disagree that Willow Creek Community Church has been one of the most influential churches in America over the last thirty years. Willow, through its association, has promoted a vision of church that is big, programmatic, and comprehensive. This vision has been heavily influenced by the methods of secular business. James Twitchell, in his new book Shopping for God, reports that outside Bill Hybels’ office hangs a poster that says: “What is our business? Who is our customer? What does the customer consider value?” Directly or indirectly, this philosophy of ministry—church should be a big box with programs for people at every level of spiritual maturity to consume and engage—has impacted every evangelical church in the country.

So what happens when leaders of Willow Creek stand up and say, “We made a mistake”?

Not long ago Willow released its findings from a multiple year qualitative study of its ministry. Basically, they wanted to know what programs and activities of the church were actually helping people mature spiritually and which were not. The results were published in a book, Reveal: Where Are You?, co-authored by Greg Hawkins, executive pastor of Willow Creek. Hybels called the findings “earth shaking,” “ground breaking,” and “mind blowing.”

If you’d like to get a synopsis of the research you can watch a video with Greg Hawkins here. And Bill Hybels’ reactions, recorded at last summer’s Leadership Summit, can be seen here. Both videos are worth watching in their entirety, but below are few highlights.
In the Hawkins’ video he says, “Participation is a big deal. We believe the more people participating in these sets of activities, with higher levels of frequency, it will produce disciples of Christ.” This has been Willow’s philosophy of ministry in a nutshell. The church creates programs/activities. People participate in these activities. The outcome is spiritual maturity. In a moment of stinging honesty Hawkins says, “I know it might sound crazy but that’s how we do it in churches. We measure levels of participation.”

Having put all of their eggs into the program-driven church basket you can understand their shock when the research revealed that “Increasing levels of participation in these sets of activities does NOT predict whether someone’s becoming more of a disciple of Christ. It does NOT predict whether they love God more or they love people more.”

Speaking at the Leadership Summit, Hybels summarized the findings this way:

Some of the stuff that we have put millions of dollars into thinking it would really help our people grow and develop spiritually, when the data actually came back it wasn’t helping people that much. Other things that we didn’t put that much money into and didn’t put much staff against is stuff our people are crying out for.

Having spent thirty years creating and promoting a multi-million dollar organization driven by programs and measuring participation, and convincing other church leaders to do the same, you can see why Hybels called this research “the wake up call” of his adult life.

Hybels confesses:

We made a mistake. What we should have done when people crossed the line of faith and become Christians, we should have started telling people and teaching people that they have to take responsibility to become ‘self feeders.’ We should have gotten people, taught people, how to read their bible between service, how to do the spiritual practices much more aggressively on their own.

In other words, spiritual growth doesn’t happen best by becoming dependent on elaborate church programs but through the age old spiritual practices of prayer, bible reading, and relationships. And, ironically, these basic disciplines do not require multi-million dollar facilities and hundreds of staff to manage.

Does this mark the end of Willow’s thirty years of influence over the American church? Not according to Hawkins:

Our dream is that we fundamentally change the way we do church. That we take out a clean sheet of paper and we rethink all of our old assumptions. Replace it with new insights. Insights that are informed by research and rooted in Scripture. Our dream is really to discover what God is doing and how he’s asking us to transform this planet.

by Christianity Today

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Cell Sin

This past summer I enjoyed some great vacation time with my wife of fifteen years, Grace, and our five children. We went to the high desert and spent most of our time enjoying the sunshine by playing catch, swimming in pools, inner tubing down rivers, going for walks and the like. For the first time in my life, I actually did not turn on my cell phone and did not take any calls or emails while on vacation. I made it a full three weeks of fasting from digital demons such as my BlackBerry, iPod, and second cell phone. Within a few days I also stopped wearing a watch and stopped really caring about time and instead enjoyed my wife, kids, and vacation. In short, it was wonderful. Unplugging my technology and simply having nothing on my body that required a battery seemed like a new kind of spiritual discipline for our age that refreshed and renewed me more than I could have imagined.

Being unplugged from my technology also made me more aware of how much lords over us as a beeping, ringing, and vibrating merciless sovereign god. I was grieved when I went to the pool every day with my kids to swim and play catch in the water and looked around the pool only to see other parents not connecting with their children at all but rather talking on their cell phones and dinking around on their handheld mobile devices while sitting in lounge chairs. When we went out for meals we saw the same thing. Parents with children were commonly interrupted throughout the meal by their technology and spent more time talking on the phone than to their family. To make matters worse, these people were actually quite loud and were incredibly annoying to the rest of us who do not want to hear whether or not their friend Hank’s nasty inner thigh rash had cleared up.

Sadly, the trend continued even late into the evenings. At night my kids like to go for bike rides and walks before heading off to bed so we spent our nights doing just that. At the resort where we stayed, it was amazing how many other families were doing the same, but the parents were not speaking to their children but rather chatting on the phone via their wireless headset (which I keep expecting to include an option to be surgically implanted into one’s head between their ears since there is apparently a lot of extra space there).

A recent article confirmed this is actually a tragic national trend and a cell sin to be repented of. An AP-Ipsos poll found that one in five people toted laptop computers on their most recent vacations, while 80 percent brought along their cell phones. One in five did some work while vacationing, and about the same number checked office messages or called in to see how things were going. Twice as many checked their email, while 50 percent kept up with other personal messages and voice mail. Reasons vacationers performed work-related tasks included an expectation that they be available, a worry about missing important information, or in some cases the enjoyment of staying involved (Source: Associated Press, June 1, 2007, http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/18983920/).

I know in years past I too have been guilty of these same digital sins against God, my family, and my own well-being. Now that I see it as a sin that destroys silence, solitude, fellowship, prayerful listening, and meaningfully and attentive friendship, I am deeply convicted that there is a new spiritual discipline of fasting from technology to be mastered. In this way, we can enjoy the life and people that God puts in front of us rather than ignoring them while we peck away with our thumbs and chat about nothing, which in the end is rarely as important as the people we are ignoring all around us.

by Mark Driscoll

 

 

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“Impossible Neutrality: An Analogy From Humanistic Geography”, by Jimmy Li

http://www.teamtruth.com/articles/art_impossibleneutrality.htm

Insight concerning the impossibility of religious neutrality from a discussion about Humanistic Geography

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In California, Conservatives have been cheated once again with Governor Arnold

http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=58130

The word “MOM” and “DAD” is now banned in schools in California

Talk about stupidity

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I’ve been listening to Grace to You’s podcasts.  John MacArthur went over the schedule in the beginning of 10/1′s podcast, saying after completing the more advanced “Doctrines of Grace” they’ll be “going in reverse,” by going back to the basics from October 8th to 17th. Then GTY will broadcast from October 18th to 19th a message called, “A Nation Abandoned by God” orginally given on the National Day of Prayer in Colorado Springs in May that received strong feedback from an airing on Focus on the Family. The message leads into “God’s Word to an Ungodly Society” from October 22 to 27, and ending October with 29th’s “Real Meaning of Christmas.” You can find all the details on GTY’s radio calendar.

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I came across a ICE’s website, discovering a large amount of free books available (90 to be exact) in HTML or PDF format. As reminder you can get more free books by clicking above on E-books. Here’s the list: (more…)

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http://ctlibrary.com/6351

An interesting article about Jonathan Edwards younger years and his facination with the delight of God from His Creation

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I haven’t had a chance to look or listen to them yet, but Reformed Theological Seminary providing a large number of mp3s and videos available through iTunes U to promote virtual RTS. Located in iTunes new section, “Itunes U” offers audio and video recordings from universities such as UC Berkeley, Yale, MIT, Duke, Cal Tech including lectures, commencement addresses (most popular being Steve Jobs at Stanford) .

I thought I’d include a preliminary survey of what RTS offers currently:

  • RTS Virtual Campus Resources (4 Movies)
    • Distance Education
    • Technology
    • Contemporary Churches
    • New Students in Seminary
  • RTS Virtual Courses
    • Old Testament
      • Genesis through Joshua by Dr. Richard L. Pratt, Jr. (29 Tracks)
      • Judges through Poets by Dr. John Currid (37 Tracks)
      • Isiah through Malachi by Dr. Richard Belcher, Jr. (34 Tracks)
    • New Testament
      • Gospels and Acts by Dr. Knox Chamblin (48 Tracks)
      • Pauline Epistles by Dr. Knox Chamblin (47 Tracks)
      • Hebrews through Revelation by Dr. Simon J. Kistemaker (45 Tracks)
    • Church History
      • History of Christianity I by Dr. Frank A. James III (32 Tracks)
      • History of Christianity II by Dr. Frank A. James (30 Tracks)
      • The Church and the World by Dr. W. Andrew Hoffecker (27 Tracks)
      • History and Theology of the Puritans by Dr. J.I. Packer (16 Tracks)
      • History of Missions by Dr. Samuel H. Larsen (35 Tracks)
    • Practical Theology
      • Disabilities and the Church (29 Tracks)
    • Theology
      • Intro to Pastoral and Theological Studies by Dr. Richard L. Pratt, Jr. (23)
      • History of Philosophy and Christian Thought by Dr. John M. Frame (36)
      • Theological Foundations by Dr. Derek W.H. Thomas (24)
      • Systematic Theology I by Dr. Douglas F. Kelly (38)
      • Systematic Theology II by Dr. Douglas F. Kelly (20)
      • Systematic Theology III by Dr. Douglas F. Kelly (38)
      • Pastoral and Social Ethics by Dr. John M. Frame (43)
      • Christan Apologetics by Dr. John M. Frame (26)
      • C.S. Lewis by Dr. Knox Chamblin (26)
  • RTS Chapel Messages
    • RTS Charlotte Chapel Messages (18)
      • Fall 2007
      • Spring 2007
      • Fall 2006
    • RTS Jackson Chapel Messages (23)
      • Spring 2007 (12)
      • Fall 2006 (11)
    • RTS Orlando Chapel Messages
      • Fall 2007 (4)
      • Spring 2007 (10)
      • Fall 2006 (11)
  • RTS Events
    • Seminar Series
      • Crass Plagiarism? The Problem of the Relationship of the Old Testament to the Ancient Near Eastern Literature by Dr. John D. Currid(3)
      • New Perspective on Paul by Dr. D.A. Carson(3)
      • Roles & Relationships in Pastoral Ministry by Dr. John Sittema (3)
      • Worship Wars, Holy Kisses, and Names for God: An Evangelical Model for Contextual Theologizing by Dr. Steve Strauss (3)
      • The Calvin I Never Knew by Dr. Frank A. James III (4)
    • Westminister Confession for Today
      • 2007 Westminister Confession for Today (4)
      • 2006 Westminister Confession for Today (4)
    • Commencement Addresses
      • RTS Charlotte Commencement Addresses by Dr. Mark E. Ross (1)
    • Special Events
      • A Memorial Service for Dr. Harold O.J. Brown (1)
      • Open Theism Debate by James White and John Sanders (1 Movie)
      • Joni and Friends by Joni Eareckson Tada(2 Movies)
      • Bethesda Rehabilitiation Ministry (2 Movies)
  • RTS Online Resources
    • Promotional Videos (3 Movies)
      • RTS Institutional – Video Presentation (12 Min.) (1 Movie)
      • Short – Study, Pray
      • Short – Quiet Voice
    • RTS Brochures (4 Tracks in PDF)
      • Learning At Jesus’ Feet
      • Studying Theology as a Servant of Jesus
      • What is Reformed About Reformed Theological Seminary
      • Westminister Confession Today

Right now I’m trying to download all the Theology (except for C.S. Lewis which I’ll download later), NT, OT, and Church History lectures.

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