Wednesday, November 28, 2007

N. T. Wright on Evangelism

Here are some thoughts on evangelism from scholar N. T. Wright:

As I’ve said before, God is going to fix the whole world. He’s going to put the whole world to rights. But actually, the advance plan for that is to put human beings to rights in advance. And when that happens, which is what happens through the gospel, it isn’t just, Phew! I’m okay now so I’m going to heaven! It’s I am actually being put right, in order that I can be part of that ongoing purpose.In other words, it’s both conversion and call, which as it was for Paul… converted to see that Jesus is the Messiah, which he’d never dreamt of before, called simultaneously ipso facto to be the apostle to the Gentiles. And in the same way, when the gospel reaches an individual, it is so that they can take part in God’s larger kingdom project.

I once on a train was approached by a Japanese student who saw me reading a book about Jesus. He didn’t know much English. He said, “Can you tell me about Jesus?” I was about to get off the train. I simply told him (he didn’t know the story) that there was this man who was a Jew. He believed that God’s purposes to rescue the whole world were coming to fulfillment. He died to take the weight of evil upon himself. He rose to launch God’s project and to invite the whole world to join in with it and find it for themselves. How long did that take me? 35 seconds? That’s more or less it.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Big Game, but the Biggest Ever?

I just witnessed, arguably the biggest Mizzou game in my lifetime: MU 36 - KU 28. Mizzou wins the Big 12 North division and will play Oklahoma for the outright Big 12 Championship. The games will just keep getting bigger if they win. I have been hearing a lot of talk that this was the biggest game ever in this series. The game of 1960 might have something to say about that. Mizzou came into that game 11-0 with a chance to play for the National Championship (they were rated number 1). They lost to Kansas in the game. Mizzou went on to beat Navy in the Orange Bowl but were not voted number 1 (there was no BCS back then). However, after the game it was found out that Kansas had used an ineligible player and Kansas forfeited the game to Mizzou. Mizzou finished the season 12-0 but were not National Champions because the votes had already been cast. So, next week may just be the biggest in MU history, and if they win, the following game will be the biggest in MU history without a doubt.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

N. T. Wright on the Authority of Scripture

N. T. Wright is one of the leading biblical scholars in the world and has an evangelical leaning to him. Here is an interview with him a man named Trevin Wax (in it's entirety): Wax with NT Wright
I have excerpted a portion on his views on the authority of Scripture. I am a big fan of this man and his writings.

… I’ve been trying to stress that the risen Jesus does not say to the disciples, “All authority on heaven and earth is given to the books you chaps are going to go off and write.” He says, “All authority on heaven and earth is given to Me.” So that if we say that Scripture is authoritative, what we must actually mean is that the authority which is vested in Christ alone is mediated through Scripture.

That’s a more complicated thing than simply having a book on the shelf, full of right answers that you can go and look up. It’s more a way of saying that when we read Scripture and determine to live under it, we are actually saying we want to live under the sovereign lordship of Jesus mediated through this book.

But no, the authority of Jesus Christ is there to transform and heal and save the world, to make the kingdoms of the world become the kingdom of our God and of his Christ. So the question then is, how does the authority of Scripture serve that purpose?. And that’s actually much more interesting than simply using Scripture to settle or raise indeed doctrinal disputes within the church.

Thanks to Jason A for the notice on his blog: Subverting Mediocrity

Monday, November 19, 2007

Chris Berman is ruining sports for me

I want to explain something that Berman says each week that really only Midwestern hockey fans from the 90s can understand. Chris Berman refers to the NFC north as the "Chuck Norris" division. Where does that come from? In the 80s, hockey divisions were not named by their regions but by important figures in the NHL. The division that contained St. Louis, Chicago, Minnesota (North Stars), Toronto and Detroit was called the Norris Division, named after James Norris, the former owner of the Detroit Red Wings and hockey Hall of Famer. It was nicknamed the Chuck Norris division because those teams played a brutally tough style of hockey and they used to beat the snot out of each other each time they played.
With similar teams like Chicago, Minnesota and Detroit in the North Division of the NFL, the comparison was natural to the Norris Division. That explains Berman's reference to anybody born after 1980. But this is why Berman is ruining sports for me. He is given such a prime position at ESPN as a knowledgeable football person. His references are constantly classic rock songs that only baby boomers get. He ruins highlights by making a "whoop!" sound anytime any player makes even the slightest juke or turn or eludes a tackle. His nicknames are getting stupider and stupider. He has also made the Home Run contest at the All Star game unwatchable for baseball fans due to his references to local towns where long home runs are said to be headed.
It is a shame, because at one point, I loved his nicknames and I even thought up a few myself. (Mostly late 80s Cardinals like Tim "I shot the " Sherrill, and Bernard "innocent until proven" Gilkey). But he never updated his shtick and I cringe every time he is on the screen because he has ruined ESPN's coverage of the NFL.
Please, make him go away.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Who gets custody of the church?

Check out this story of a marriage and ministry gone wrong:

MINEOLA, N.Y. (AP) -- The estranged wife of a pastor claims her husband blended his professional and personal finances so thoroughly that his church should be counted as an asset in their divorce.
A judge agreed in a decision published this week to hear arguments on the claim, and he ordered a financial appraisal of the church. Lawyers said it could represent the first time anyone in New York state has tried to treat a religious institution as a marital asset.
The wife argues that her husband of 31 years used his Brooklyn church as a "personal piggy bank," setting his own income, spending the congregation's tithes as he pleased and running a catering business from the building...
The wife said $50,000 of the couple's money went into starting the church, and that the church property is partly hers.
"That church is no different than any other business he might have opened," said the wife's lawyer, Robert Pollack.
The pastor maintains he is simply a church employee, and the institution's funds should not be considered his, according to Diamond's decision.

So, who gets custody of the church?

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Dryer or Paper Towel?

You probably didn’t realize that your choice of drying your hands after washing up after going to the bathroom impacted the environment. That is the plea of the automated hand dryers. They claim that they are more sanitary to use and fill less landfill than paper towels. Is that true? Actually, the dryers actually incubate germs due to the warm air and it takes electric power to operate them. Plus, the paper towels provide us with the ability to avoid handling the germy door handles on the way out. Think about that. If you are conscientious and wash your hands with soap after your business and touch the door handle on your way out, you are virtually shaking hands with every dirty human who went out that door that day. [Shudder]

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Erratic Posting

I really haven't felt like blogging lately as you can tell. I will have to get back to regular posting so that people will actually check up from time to time. Here are some quick hit thoughts:

I am hesitantly buying into the Mizzou Tigers this year. The A&M game was the hurdle for me. If they get beat by Kansas, then Kansas is just better (although it hurts to say that). Now if they can just get by K-State, which is no easy task if you have been following Mizzou's recent history.

I am reading a great new book: Breaking the Missional Code by Ed Stetzer. I am going to be blogging about it soon. I think it should be required reading for every church leader.

I am addicted to Facebook trivia. I answered all of the Seinfeld questions (I believe I scored in the top 100). My new addiction is St. Louis Cardinal trivia. My goal is the top ten by the end of the week (Jon Nelson needs to get there too).

I moved my weights into my garage as well as my treadmill. I have been back on the weight bench and have had two sessions on the treadmill. Goal is to lose ten pounds by Thanksgiving (realistically I should lose five).

I disappointed that the Cold War Kids canceled their show in Columbia. Not going to see Cowboy Junkies (saw them in 1990 at WestPort Playhouse in STL).

I am working through an old elementary Greek textbook. Man, I need a refresher course.

Look for some thoughts on Ed Stetzer's book in the next couple of days.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Conversion Experience?

There is a B-Side song on one of Wilco's singles from their latest CD. It could be perceived as having Christian imagery. Read some of these lyrics and tell me what you think:

I was dead at first/I had done my worst/When you came to me
Life had ceased/ I was lost and tired/
You set me free from this mighty fire

Now I will admit there are other lyrics that could be perceived as a love song:

I trust in you/I hope that one day you will trust me too
I wanna be what you are to me

So this song could actually be a love song that I am reading too much into, correct? But if you scour other Wilco (and Uncle Tupelo) lyrics, you find religious, even biblical imagery, like the song "Theologians": No one is ever gonna take my life from me/I lay it down (among other lyrics.) Why do I find Christian imagery behind the song? How about the title?

One True Vine