Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Reformation Day!

This may be a little late in the day but it's still Oct. 31 as I write this. So today is the day that millions of little kids roam their neighborhoods in pursuit of tasty little treats. It's also a day that gives adults an excuse to dress up in a way that would never be allowed on a normal day. Are these things bad? No, I don't think so. What I do think is sad though is the fact that very few people know or remember or even care really about the world changing event that took place on this day in history almost 500 years ago. On October 31, 1517 in a little town in Germany called Wittenberg, Martin Luther started something that would change the course of history. Martin Luther was a man who stood for what was right and true. He saw how the church of his day had strayed far from the teaching of the word of God and how dangerous and wrong that was. To stand against a force as strong as the church was, at that time, impressive and courageous to say the least. The church had distorted the gospel and was abusing the trust of it's members. The church had become something that existed to glorify itself and it's leaders rather than glorifying God. As a result, the church gained an immense amount of power and influence and was seen as the only bearer of truth and the only way to get to God. When Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of that church in Wittenberg, he was not calling for a new idea or a new religion. Luther was calling the church to account for what they were teaching because it was not based anywhere in Scipture. Luther was trying to bring the church back to the truth of the gospel as it is revealed in the Scriptrures, as it had been since the beginning. Luther's boldness proclaimed the gospel of grace loud and clear and shined the light of truth to people who were under a cloud of darkness. Luther paved the way for other brave men to stand up for truth and to reclaim the gospel for what it really is. Many men followed his footsteps and transformed Europe and eventually North America and much of the world. Luther was just an ordinary guy just like me whom God used to proclaim His truth. I can only pray that I can be as bold and as willing as Luther and many others to proclaim it as well.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Has Jesus Emerged?

This week I’ve been home and have had the ability to spend a lot of good time reading and reflecting. It has been a joy to get back into some good study of the Bible and the deep truth that it contains. I love the Bible because it is God revealing himself to us, it is the creator of the universe telling us about himself and explaining to us the way things are. I believe the Bible is the very foundation for everything and is really the only way for us to truly know anything. We could not make sense of this world without knowing God and we can’t know God without Him revealing Himself in His word. I believe that the Bible and only the Bible gives the preconditions of intelligibility, which means that it is the only thing that gives a consistent, coherent foundation for what we know and how we know it. For example, without the Bible you could not give a rational explanation for why we have morality or laws of ethics. People try to give an explanation but upon deeper review it is inadequate and illogical. All this to say I believe that the Bible is very valuable and I take it very seriously which is why I am deeply saddened when people who claim to want to follow it think that it is ok to try and change it or use it to try and make it say something it doesn’t. This is something that has happened since time began and probably always will as long as sinful men live. I think whenever an issue arises we need to go to scripture first and see what God says about it and to faithfully with an open heart let scripture speak for itself. We cannot impart our ideas into the text we can only take from it what it really says. There is sooo much more to say on this as it is something that men have spent their whole lives discussing and studying but I wanted to give a brief synopsis on my view of the Bible and it’s authority in our lives for everything.

I think it is important whenever we hear a sermon or someone speak or read a book to check what the person is saying with scripture. Is what this person is saying lining up with what God says in his word? If what they say goes against sound Biblical teaching we need to call them on it. We need to do it in a loving way with the goal of unity and restoration but it needs to be dealt with and not left to get worse. I think many of the problems in the church today are a result of men failing to teach what the Bible really says and good men doing nothing about it.

I can’t go into all the different erroneous theological views at this time nor would it be very fruitful here. However, there is one in particular that I would like to highlight at this time. I think is a dangerous one because it is so attractive and it really appeals to the modern culture. I’m talking about the Emergent movement. Don’t worry, I’m not going to bash these people or engage in attacking them personally. In fact I think I share common ground with them in their criticism of the modern “seeker sensitive” modeled churches. However, that is as far as it goes. It’s when they move from the criticisms and what wrong to their prescription on how to fix it that I feel is not always Biblically sound. I think many of them have an honest desire to follow Christ and to be a light in a dark world but I think they have changed the truth to be more appealing or more relevant to today’s culture and in so doing have lost all relevance. I think many people who have jumped on board the emergent movement don’t really know what it is that they believe and why but are more there because it’s the new exciting thing. I know I haven’t given any specifics yet as to why I feel this way and in what way that they are in error, which brings me to this. Here is an article that is brilliantly written by a pastor named Reid Monaghan. I think in it he does a great job of laying out the issues and showing why we need to be aware of what is going on. Reid gives a strong Biblical analysis and is very fair and loving in his approach to the emergents.

I can’t stress enough how worth your time it is to read it and to start asking your own questions and then seeing what God really has to say about it all. Has God changed? Is what he said then still applicable now? The Bible is clear and answers with authority and you can be confident in it, as it is the very word of God. Please check out Reid's article here for a more in depth look.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Fall Touring

We've just finished the first and longest leg of our fall tour. It has been a lot of fun hanging out with Jason and Taya Gray again and this time we have Lanae Hale joining us as well. We are extremely blessed to have been on a bus for this trip which makes it feel like a school trip with all your friends or something. We even got to take a sightseeing trip to Mt. Rushmore. This tour although fun with friends has been challenging as well. We have a full production which is fantastic but it takes a lot of work to put it all up and tear it down every day. I think everyone has worked together really well though and things have run fairly smoothly. We have definitely had a few hiccups and problems but hopefully nothing that the audience would notice or ever really know about. I think the show this fall is the best it's ever been which is why it is a bit sad and frustrating that more people aren't there to see it. The crowds have been fairly small but the ones who are there have been very gracious and had a good time with us.

One great thing about this tour so far for me is the fact that I get to have my family with me. I can't even begin to tell you what a huge blessing that is. I remember dreaming and praying about what it would be like to travel and do this job with my family and now it is a reality. I was sitting on the bus, which is another thing we have prayed a long time for, and I looked over at my wife on one side and my beautiful sleeping daughter on the other and I was filled with so much gratefullness tha t I was in that moment with them. Another cool thing this week was that it was Jess' birthday. We had a fun little celebration on the bus after the show with a cake and all.

This job is very difficult sometimes and we are taken away from family and friends and the normalcy of life so often. Often times I feel so worn out but after a week like this I feel so grateful for where God has me. I love the people I get to work with and feel so blessed to share life with them and to share this crazy life in particular.

To see some great pics from this week check out jess' facebook here.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Cali giraffe

This is our little giraffe taken yesterday by my lovely wife at home. I miss them a ton but am on my way home to them tonight. Cali's getting bigger and may be getting her first teeth but we aren't sure yet. I think she's pretty darn cute.