When you listen to a sermon at church, what do you hear? In his book Transforming Conversion, Gordon T. Smith has some very important words for all Christians to keep at the forefront of their minds: Preaching is not about urging hearers to work harder, try harder, and do more so that they are more faithful. They cannot do so; the depth of the human predicament makes this impossible and thus futile and (rightly) results in much cynicism about the Christian life—better put, it is cynicism about a false conception of the Christian life. Rather, preaching is about drawing the people … Continue reading What is Preaching?
Next Wednesday, I’m teaching our high school students at our church on being others-centered. As I am starting to prepare for this message, I can’t help restructure my thinking to look like this: We must be Christ-centered, not others-centered. We must be others-oriented, not self-oriented. The problem with being others-centered is that this can lead to idolatry of people. If we center our thoughts, actions, and words around a person, we will inevitably do things simply to please them or to earn their praise. The world does this every minute of the day. If we become people-centered people, we will … Continue reading Christ-centered, Others-oriented
I often find myself forgetting that I am one individual member of an absolutely enormous body called the Church. Still more, I forget this Church is a Body that is incredibly diverse. Spending 2009 in South Africa helped me in this, but I’m still learning to think outside of my own little kingdom. This Body isn’t diverse just because it has hands and feet and ears. It’s diverse because the hands are African and the ears are Latino and the feet are Asian, along with a thousand other races, people groups, and languages. Wayne Grudem reminded me of this today … Continue reading The Church as the Ultimate Barrier Breaker
This weekend Carly and I went to see The Book of Eli, starring Denzel Washington. Eli is filled with bloody fight scenes, engaging cinematography, and intense mystery. I won’t tell you too much; I don’t want to be a spoiler. But here’s a quick premise. In post-apocalyptic, wasteland America, Washington plays Eli, a sunglass-wearing, nomadic warrior who has a good heart but isn’t afraid to finish a fight. He’s been walking across the country for the past 30 years, since the ‘last war.’ The war caused a rip in the ozone layer, bringing about a bright flash from the sun … Continue reading The Book of Eli
As the past year closed, Listverse gave some interesting facts about what America was like 100 years ago. From their website: In 1909 none of these things had been invented: zippers, band-aids, traffic lights, bubble gum, penicillin, sunglasses, ballpoint pens, shopping carts, nylon stockings, kitty litter, and milk cartons. In the US there were about 230 reported murders and the average life expectancy was 47. An accountant could expect to earn $2000 per year and a dentist $2,500. The average worker made between $200 and $400 per year, but sugar only cost four cents a pound and eggs were just … Continue reading Some facts about 1909