Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A Biblical Response to Extremism & Homosexuality

Here's the message from last Sunday on Extremism & Homosexuality, in response to the visit from Westboro Baptist Church to Miami University. Most of the message is focused on the religious extremism of Westboro and how Christians should respond. At the 25:00 mark I begin to address a biblical response to homosexuality.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Westboro Comes to Oxford

On Tuesday, October 25 the Westboro Baptist Church (WBC) plans to visit Miami's campus in Oxford to picket. If you don't know much about WBC, you can find all you need to know from their website godhatesfags.com. Their coming to Oxford has been a developing story, which you can read more about from these links:
While it is always a discernment call to determine whether or not to give a group such as this any more media attention, I decided that it would be helpful to directly address their approach since they are coming to our back yard. So, on Sunday, October 23 in the services at OBF we will look at a biblical approach to homosexuality and the WBC. My goal is to help us think biblically about homosexuality and to engage our culture with the overwhelming grace of Jesus. Please pray that God would work in that way.

As you think about these issues, here are some helpful resources:

Monday, October 17, 2011

Friday, October 14, 2011

Puritan Prayers 02

Here is the other Puritan Prayer that we used on Sunday:

REGENERATION

O God of the highest heaven, occupy the throne of our hearts.
Take full possession and reign supreme,
lay low every rebellious lust,
let no vile passion take us;
manifest thy mighty power,
and make us yours forever.

You are worthy to be praised with our every breath,
Loved with our very soul,
served with every act of our lives.

You have loved us, adopted us, received us, purchased, washed,
favored, clothed, adorned us,
when we were worthless, vile, soiled, and polluted.

We were dead in iniquities,
having no eye to see you,
no ear to hear you,
no taste to relish your joys,
no intelligence to know you;
But your spirit has quickened us,
has brought us into a new world as a new creature,
has given us spiritual perception,
has opened to us your word as light, guide, solace, joy.

Your presence is to us a treasure of unending peace;
No provocation can part us from your sympathy,
For you have drawn us with cords of love, and have forgiven us daily, hourly.

O help us then to walk worthy of your love, of our hopes, and our vocation.

Keep us, for we cannot keep ourselves;
protect us that no evil comes upon us;
Let us lay aside every sin admired of many;
help us to walk by your side, lean on your arm, hold conversation with you alone.
That we may be salt of the earth and a blessing to all.

Adapted from The Valley of Vision.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Puritan Prayers 01

On Sunday, we adapted a couple of puritan prayers from The Valley of Vision to use during our services. You may want to check out the book as a means of enhancing your prayers toward God. They are very deep, thoughtful meditations on the unworthiness of humans and the greatness of God and His grace. Below is one we used on Sunday, and I'll post the other one soon.

THE VALLEY OF VISION

Lord, high and holy, meek and lowly,
You have brought us to the valley of vision,
where we live in the depths but see You in the heights;
hemmed in by mountains of sin we behold your glory.

Let us learn by paradox
that the way down is the way up,
that to be low is to be high,
that the broken heart is the healed heart,
that the contrite spirit is the rejoicing spirit,
that the repenting soul is the victorious soul,
that to have nothing is to possess all,
that to bear the cross is to wear the crown,
that to give is to receive,
that the valley is the place of vision.

Lord, in the daytime stars can be seen from deepest wells,
and the deeper the wells the brighter your stars shine;
let us find your light in our darkness,
your life in our death,
your joy in our sorrow,
your grace in our sin,
your riches in our poverty,
your glory in our valley.

God of all grace, our eyes are fixed on you.
Lift us up through your Son Jesus Christ. Amen.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Why Me?

A good reminder here from Justin Taylor, reflecting on the question "Why me?"

Arthur Ashe, winner of three Grand Slam titles in tennis, contracted HIV during a blood transfusion for his second heart surgery. He died in 1993 at the age of 49 from AIDS-related pneumonia. In his memoirs he wrote the following insightful words:

Quite often, people who mean well inquire of me whether I ever ask myself, in the face of my diseases, “Why me?”

I never do.

If I ask “Why me?” as I am assaulted by heart disease and AIDS, I must ask “Why me?” about my blessings, and question my right to enjoy them.

The morning after I won Wimbledon in 1975, I should have asked ‘Why me?’ and doubted that I deserved the victory. If I don’t ask ‘Why me?’ after my victories, I cannot ask ‘Why me?’ after my setbacks and disasters. (p. 326)

Read more here.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Grill Saga

In last Sunday's message on Jonathan & David, I used an illustration about my grill - that you don't go over to another man's house and cook on their grill or offer another man suggestions on how to cook on his grill, etc. I talked about how important my grill is, and how it would be a big deal to give it to someone else...which lead to the following.

Sunday, October 2
Arriving home from church and looking forward to cooking smoked pork steaks on my grill, I found it missing but replaced with this beauty:


I started texting my good friend Jason Reynolds to see if he was the culprit. He played dumb.

Monday, October 3
I received over 20 text messages from various people that said, "I did it." I replied to all of them that I was glad the Oxford Police Department would have some suspects. At the same time my grill was making its way around Oxford on the back of a trailer, visiting various people in Oxford as the photos below indicate:


On Monday night I happened to look out my front window at 10pm to see a certain blue Jeep Wrangler equipped with trailer driving down my street. I texted the driver (the aforementioned Jason Reynolds) to see what he was doing, and he replied that he was going to stop by but remembered we had company.

Tuesday, October 4
As I got in my vehicle to head to work in the morning, two envelopes sat perched on my windshield. They contained the pictures above and a puzzle map to the location of my grill. However, without a truck to put the grill on, 4 young children to take care of, a church to lead, and needing to watch the new iPhone 4s video, I was unable to retrieve the grill. Since I delayed, the grill ended up on Craigslist (see here). Hey, I'd take $5000 for it.

Wednesday, October 5
The grill was still missing. I was still waiting to cook the steaks from Sunday. And then this happened:



Of course, that wasn't really my grill, and it somehow returned home later that day. That night we finally enjoyed Sunday's dinner.

So there it is. Just one more thing left: payback.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Missions There AND Here

A good word here from Doug Wilson for would-be overseas missionaries, short-termers, and every Christian:
The principle is this: you export whatever it is you are manufacturing.

What you practice at home is the show you take on the road. What you grow in your fields is what you load on the trucks. Compassing sea and land doesn't generate a new message. The way you live when you get on the plane is going to be the single best indicator of how you live when you get off the plane. In short, don't expect geographical location to fix anything...

If the motive force for a church's evangelism is excitement over the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, then that evangelism will be in evidence both locally and in foreign missions. But if 98% of the evangelism done by a church is overseas, they are trying to export something they do not have.

The point here is that missions is not something we do "over there," but something we are all called to do wherever God has placed us. Churches must be on mission in their community. Businesspeople must be on mission in their business. Families must be on mission in their neighborhood. Then, if God calls you overseas, you will simply do there what you have already been doing here.

You can read the whole post here.

RT: Justin Taylor

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Another Set of Cool Pics

There is theology behind the beauty we see, which is why I like to post photos and pictures that float around the web. Viewing beautiful works of art, like the photos referenced here, remind us that all people are created in the image of God and therefore have the capacity for creating beauty (Gen 1:26-27). We also recognize that these works of art ultimately glorify the Creator of all things from whose image our creativity flows. So, take a minute to remind yourself of these truths as you worship the Creator by checking out these pics.


For his series “Pencil vs. Camera”, Belgian artist Ben Heine created these unique works
of art by combining colorful photos with detailed pencil drawings. See them all here.

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