Monday, January 31, 2011

Missional: The Gospel, Evangelism & Social Justice

Yesterday we started the Missional teaching series at OBF. We're excited to start offering our teaching through video for those who miss a Sunday or are away from Oxford. You can watch on our website or at Vimeo. You can also listen on-line if you prefer not to see me! And podcasts are also still available.

Jared Pierson, our Youth Director, has also put together a family study guide for the first two weeks of the series. You can download it here.

We hope and pray that God would bless His Word as it goes out live and on-line.

Missional 1.30.11 b from Jared L. Pierson on Vimeo.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Alvin Sanders on Reconciliation

Recently our church had the privilege of hearing from Alvin Sanders during a special weekend focused on reconciliation. Alvin is the director of the EFCA's Samaritan Way, an arm focused on reversing division and multiplying kingdom growth. We were able to sit down with Alvin for a few minutes to ask him some questions about reconciliation.

In this video, Alvin answers these questions:
  • Why don't you speak of "racial reconciliation," but simply "reconciliation?"
  • Why is theology absolutely necessary for effective reconciliation?
  • Summarize the theology that must inform reconciliation.
  • Tell us what you mean when you say: "Reconciliation is bridge-building. Bridges get walked on from both sides."
  • What are some resources we can look to for more on reconciliation?

Friday, January 21, 2011

Some Animal Fun

I was hoping to do a lot more posting this week on the Holy Spirit, but time has not allowed me to. I still hope to get to some things on the Spirit in the future. However, my little girls have been enjoying a video I thought I'd share. I've been laughing at them laughing at this. As Kevin DeYoung (who posted this on his blog) said, "I hope you’ll excuse a little bathroom humor."

Sunday, January 16, 2011

What the Holy Spirit Does

If you had to tell someone the number one thing the Spirit does, what would it be? What is the primary role of the Holy Spirit? Jesus answers this question for us in John 14:26, 15:26, and 16:13-14. The final passage is the most significant where Jesus says that the Spirit will "glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you." The main thing the Spirit does is glorify Jesus by revealing Jesus' teaching to us. There are a lot of amazing things the Spirit does, but this is the most significant. He brings glory to Jesus by helping us understand Jesus' teaching.

How about those other amazing things the Spirit does? Here's a list that would make a great study for the new year:
  • He indwells us, being every present with us (John 14:16-17)
  • He is the Helper, counseling and comforting us (John 16:8)
  • He is the Spirit of Truth, guiding us into all the truth and revealing to us the teaching of Jesus (John 14:16, 26, 16:13)
  • He regenerates dead people, making us alive to God (Titus 3:5; John 3:3-8)
  • He adopts us into the family of God, affirming that we are God's children (Rom. 8:15-17; Eph. 1:5)
  • He baptizes us into the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:13)
  • He indwells us, making us a place of worship to God (1 Cor. 3:16; 1 Cor. 6:19-20)
  • He sanctifies us, growing us in holiness (Rom. 15:16; 1 Cor. 6:11; 2 Thess. 2:13; 1 Pet. 1:2)
  • He seals us, keeping us secure in our salvation (Eph. 1:13-14; Eph. 4:30)
  • He fills us as we submit to his leading (Eph. 5:18)
  • He gives us spiritual gifts, enabling us to serve God and others (Rom. 12; 1 Cor 12; 1Pet. 4:10)
  • He helps us pray effectively to God the Father (Rom. 8:26-27)
Are you taking full advantage of the Spirit who does all of this?

Friday, January 14, 2011

Resources on the Holy Spirit

This Sunday I'm speaking on the Holy Spirit from John 14-16. You can listen here (should be up by Sunday night). I promised the church some resources on the Holy Spirit, so here they are.

Forgotten God: Reversing Our Tragic Neglect of the Holy Spirit by Francis Chan
WTS Description: A follow up to the profound message of Crazy Love, Pastor Francis Chan offers a compelling invitation to understand, embrace, and follow the Holy Spirit's direction in our lives. In the name of the Father, the Son, and ... the Holy Spirit. We pray in the name of all three, but how often do we live with an awareness of only the first two? As Jesus ascended into heaven, He promised to send the Holy Spirit--the Helper--so that we could be true and living witnesses for Christ. Unfortunately, today's church has admired the gift but neglected to open it. Breakthrough author Francis Chan rips away paper and bows to get at the true source of the church's power--the Holy Spirit. Chan contends that we've ignored the Spirit for far too long, and we are reaping the disastrous results. Thorough scriptural support and compelling narrative form Chan's invitation to stop and remember the One we've forgotten, the Spirit of the living God.

The Holy Spirit: 13 New Testament Studies on the Holy Spirit by (the slightly less known) Jeremy Carr
This study traces the Holy Spirit and his work through the New Testament. It was prepared as Adult Education curriculum for Bethel Church in Crown Point, Indiana. Click here to download a PDF of the study which includes a detailed outline and teacher notes.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Republocrat: Confessions of a Liberal Conservative

I have really been enjoying Carl Trueman's Republocrat: Confessions of a Liberal Conservative. The book is well-written and funny while providing a helpful antidote to today's typically polarizing political discourse. Trueman is a Brit, so he provides a helpful outsider's view of American politics. Reading the book is much like the experience you receive when traveling abroad -- you learn a ton about your own culture, good and bad. I'd highly recommend you get a copy and dig in. At the least your thinking will be provoked. I guarantee you won't agree with everything, but you'll sharpen your own thinking on political issues and be challenged to see politics differently.

Kevin DeYoung reviews the book by beginning:
As far as I can tell, Carl Trueman is incapable of being dull. I haven’t had the privilege of sitting down for a tête à tête, so it could be that in real life he’s as interesting as a Lawrence Welk rerun. But I somehow doubt it. We’ve exchanged emails over the past months and invariably he throws in some piece of pith that makes me want to say, alternately, “Yes, Amen!” or, “I can’t believe you just said that!” Trueman is a professional provocateur, which I mean as a compliment. He loves to provoke, but never with sophomoric shock, always with wit, intelligence, and a writing style that seems to say “I’m British, and we invented this language.” I love reading Carl’s stuff because he not only writes so well and so memorably—who else is as adroit with ferrets, prostate clinics, and some business about bogs I didn’t quite understand—but because he loves to poke his friends as much as his enemies. Carl delights to skewer. I hereby dub him the King of Kebabs.

All of Trueman’s erstwhile poking and provocation are on display in his devastating, humorous, much-needed, over the top, occasionally unconvincing new book Republocrat: Confessions of a Liberal Conservative (P&R Publishing, 110 pp). First off, props (as the kids used to say) to Zach Franzen for the wonderful cover illustration. It’s hard to take your eyes of such a playfully-serious, hoity-toity, blueish-red donkeyphant. Good work P&R.
Read the rest here.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Don't Insult Christ By Hating on His Bride

Loving Christ and not loving the church is like telling a friend that you love him, but you couldn't care less about his wife.
- Ed Stetzer and Mike Dodson in Comeback Churches, p. 58-59.

Ephesians 5:25-27 (ESV)
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her,
that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Pray for Sudan

Justin Taylor highlights the upcoming independence vote for southern Sudan, and the need for Christians around the world to pray:

If you go to iTunes and download the song “Actions Speak Louder Than Words” ($.99), 100% of the proceeds go to His Voice Global to build a fourth orphanage in Southern Sudan. Sudan is a war-torn country with over 2 million dead, and scores of orphans. Once build, the orphanage will be self-sustained by HVG’s trucking company there.

The song is by Swoope, ft. Lecrae, Tedashii, and Jai. Here’s a new video:

Swoope "Actions Speak Louder" ft. Lecrae, Tedashii, and Jai from Collision Recs on Vimeo.

Here is a snippet from CNN on what is going to happen tomorrow (Sunday, January 9, 2011):

Several million people will decide in the next week or so whether to give birth to the world’s newest nation.

They will cast ballots on whether to declare independence at polling stations sprinkled across the vast, flat plains of Southern Sudan, an East African landscape long riven by chaos.

War and famine have ravaged generations in the south for as long as anyone can remember. Fighting forced more people from their homes than in any other nation on earth. Hope remained elusive.

Yet the vote has given many southerners the rare sense of exhilaration that is borne of new beginnings.

From January 9 to January 15, the black Christians and animists in the autonomous region of Southern Sudan will vote on whether to declare independence from a northern government dominated by Arab Muslims. The two sides fought a war that killed 2 million people from 1983 to 2005, when a peace treaty set the stage for the upcoming vote.

Nearly 4 million have registered to cast ballots. Few doubt the outcome. . .

[Read the rest.]

And pray. HVG shares 6 ways to pray on the eve of this historic vote.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Missional Primer

On Sunday, January 30 I'll be starting an important teaching series at OBF called Missional: The Gospel, Evangelism, and Social Justice. Today, I read a helpful blog post by Mark Driscoll that happened to be the most read post from the Resurgence website in 2010. It provides a great primer to our upcoming series. Here it is:
Why Christians Go Postal Over Facebook, Jay-Z, Yoga, Avatar, and Culture in General

It was only last week that the Washington Post asked for my opinion on the New Jersey pastor calling for Christians to stop using Facebook. Had I known what would erupt this week, I might have agreed with him.

The big idea of my Post blog was that Facebook doesn’t cause adultery, people do. Calling for a boycott of Facebook is not the answer because the issue is the heart. Even if someone doesn’t commit adultery because of Facebook, if that sin remains in their heart, they will find another way to act upon it. Sadly, after the story broke, it was revealed that the pastor protesting against Facebook was, in fact, guilty of prior adultery, along with his wife. Of course, their adultery had nothing to do with Facebook, according to the news reports. So, while I pray for the couple to get beyond whatever may be troubling their marriage by God’s grace, it simply confirmed my big idea that sinners are ultimately responsible for sin.

Facebook, like many technologies and cultural phenomena, is an opportunity for my heart and the hearts of others you and I interact with to be revealed and transformed. Funny that this week, a simple comment I made appreciating the talent of Jay-Z generated hundreds and hundreds of comments across multiple threads on my Facebook page. Compare that to nineteen comments on my post regarding a news article about the Christian who is being raped, beaten, and tortured for his faith and needs some people to push for his freedom.

Read the rest here.

One thing Driscoll highlights in the article and in his book Radical Reformission is how Christians should engage culture. He writes that we should take three approaches to the various elements of culture:
One helpful taxonomy I have used for years to help teach on missiology is as follows:

· Receive – There are things in culture that are part of God’s common grace to all people that a Christian can simply receive. This is why, for example, I am typing on a Mac and am going to post this blog on the Internet without searching for an expressly Christian computer or communication format.

· Reject – There are things in culture that are sinful and not beneficial. One example is pornography, which has no redeeming value and must be rejected by a Christian.

· Redeem – There are things in culture that are not bad in and of themselves, but can be used in a sinful manner and therefore need to be redeemed by God’s people. An example that has resulted in a great deal of media attention is sexual pleasure. God made our bodies for, among other purposes, sexual pleasure. And, although many have sinned sexually, as Christians we should redeem this great gift and all its joys in the context of marriage.

Again, check out the full article here.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Vacation in Pictures and Video

I took a break from blogging over the holidays and thought I'd come back with a picture and video summary of some happenings. I hope you enjoyed a great Christmas and New Years. Now it's back to work! But first, enjoy some fun...

This is my brother and a fairly famous player from the Chicago Bears. You can guess who is who. Neither look to happy!

Sydney, my second daughter, trying out make-up. Might want to give it a few more years Syd.

Saw this on ESPN's "Not Top Ten" plays of the year. We laughed a ton because my otherwise very athletic wife ran hurdles for one year in high school and knocked down every last hurdle in a race.

Quinn, our youngest, and her cousin Eliza rockin the iPhone.

Saw this one in Indiana. Best logo I have every seen. Some graphic design person said, "Hey, you work on digestive issues, let's make your logo a big colon."