- Facebook - I think everyone knows what Facebook is
- Craigslist - I advertise my rentals here
- Pandora - enter an artist and it plays music by that artist and other similar artists
- ESPN - again, everyone knows ESPN
- Hoopsworld - I like basketball
- Out of Ur - put out by Christianity Today
- The Resurgence - articles, podcast, resources
- Techbargains - I like gadgets, and I like cheap
- Bloglines - this is my homepage on my laptop. It's where I subscribe to rss feeds
- Hulu/Netflix - free/cheap places to watch movies
Wednesday, December 31, 2008
- Dan in Real Life - we'll get things started with a great date movie, which also happens to have a killer soundtrack
- The Dark Knight - this was one of the few movies I saw in the theater. I had very high expectations going in, but was not as blown away as I had hoped to be. Still, Heath Ledger's performance warrants a spot in the top 10.
- Bella - if you haven't seen this you definitely need to
- Juno - another great date movie.
- Gone Baby Gone - not a date movie, but a great story
- 21 - I like poker, I like Kevin Spacey, and I like Ben Mezrich (the author of the book)
- The Visitor - I just saw this one a few weeks ago and really loved it
- Reign Over Me - it's difficult to picture Adam Sandler in a serious role, but he was awesome in this one
- Arrested Development - Not sure why it took us this long to discover Arrested Development, but I'm glad that we finally did
- Dexter - I watched season one in about a week on Netflix. Season two took me a little longer, but I was just as committed. Dexter is a very interesting character. Like Gone Baby Gone, it raises lots of questions of good and evil, as well as our struggle to hide our sin. It should be noted that this Showtime series is definitely R-rated.
- Micah - Micah is such a wonderful baby. He is full of joy and always has a smile to share. The fact that he doesn't cry that much and sleeps through the night is definitely a plus. I am so blessed to be the daddy to two wonderful boys.
- Dad - Dad's surgery was definitely a little scary, but I am very thankful that everything went as smooth as it did. I know that God was involved in a major way. Adam and I went to see him yesterday and he was continuing to recover well.
- Pergola - Dad and I shared several weekends together building our pergola. I'm not much of a handyman, so this was quite the accomplishment. Getting to hang out with Dad made it all the better - plus, the outcome would have not been the same without him :)
- Vacation to St. George Island - We got to spend a week on the beach with Mandy's family. We wondered how it would be with a three week old, but Micah did great. It was a beautiful place, and a much needed rest.
- Kaboom and CYPN - When we moved to Cooper-Young to start a church, we wanted to be about the neighborhood. We wanted the neighborhood's needs and desires to become our needs and desires. The Kaboom Playground build at Peabody Elementary School and the formation of the Cooper-Young Parent's Network were two tangible steps towards this.
- Changing jobs yet again - This year I went from the mortgage business to the property management business. I went from zero properties in June to fourteen as of today. I really enjoy it, and it serves as a great support system for church planting.
- MCAP - I met Hugh Halter and Matt Smay at the Exponential Conference in Orlando last April. In May I was given the money to go through their seven month online coaching program. It just finished, and I gained so much through it.
- Neighborhood Church - this year I felt that we moved from being a church plant to becoming a church. It seemed to have happened sometime this summer, but it definitely feels that way now.
- Third annual toddler Halloween party - our party in 2006 was one of the first parties we had. It feels good to say that we've done something three years in a row. In February we'll have our third annual Super Bowl party.
- Advent Conspiracy - we just finished up our second year of participating in the Advent Conspiracy. I think this is one of the best things our church did this year. The highlight was the "Think Globally, Party Locally" Party hosted by Josh and Ginger Spickler.
- The Tangible Kingdom, by Hugh Halter and Matt Smay - actually this is in order. This was my favorite read of the year. It's also the book I've recommended the most to others.
- Walking with God, by John Eldredge - our church spent the summer talking about abiding with Christ. For me, this book played a major role in those discussions.
- Humility, by C.J. Mahaney - I just read this and gave copies to our leadership team. It's heavy hitting at times, but extremely practical.
- The Myth of a Christian Nation, by Gregory Boyd - I participated in a six week discussion on this book in the spring. It's a needed book for many in our culture, and I think it really resonated with those in the discussion group.
- The ESV Study Bible - I've already written on how much I am loving my new study Bible. You can read that here.
- Culture Making, by Andy Crouch - I try to read anything that Andy Crouch writes. He has a great grasp on what it means to share the gospel in our culture.
- Transfer of Power, by Vince Flynn - if you like Jack Bauer, you'll like Mitch Rapp even more. There are nine books in this series so far, and I read (or listened to) seven of them this year.
- Holy Discontent, by Bill Hybels - I finally read this when I was preparing to teach about how the Gospel impacts society. It's a quick read, and very inspiring.
- Authentic Parenting in a Post-Modern Culture, by Mary DeMuth - Mandy came across this book and read it, then recommended it to me. I read most of it sitting on a beach in Florida last summer. Mary and her husband are missionaries in France, so they understand what it means to raise children (and teach them a Christian worldview) in a post-modern/post-Christian culture.
- The Blue Parakeet, by Scot McKnight - I actually am not very far into this one, but I've read enough that it counts for 2008 (my rules).
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Monday, December 29, 2008
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Monday, December 15, 2008
If you'd like to hear the message, you can download it from our website or subscribe via Itunes.
This is the Inclusive Community. Anyone is welcome, no matter what you believe, how you live, what you look like, where you come from, etc. This is the “Come and See” message of Jesus (John 1). And it’s not just “come on Sunday night and see.” It’s “Observe how we live, how we care for one another, and how we love our neighbor as ourselves. Just come and be with us.
We recognize that many of us have lots of baggage and wounds when it comes to church. Our hope is that over time, people will like what they “come and see.” If they’ve had stereotypes of what a church is, many of these will have been broken through. If they’ve had baggage and wounds, many of these will have been healed through our time together. This phase occurs when people begin to participate relationally, or to serve, or to give.
No matter what phase you are in, we will continue to issue the call to follow Jesus. We will call you to give your life for His mission and for the instrument that He has chosen to carry out His mission: the local church. Those of you who answer that call move to the third phase, which is partnership, or ownership. This is where you decide that this mission isn’t just about Robert and Jason. You recognize that God has called you here.
Whereas the message of Observation was "Come and see," the message of Partnership is “Come and die” (Mark 8:34-35). Those of us who are called into partnership together for a covenant community.
Tuesday, December 09, 2008
- The newest audio from Acts 29 Network features Mark Driscoll speaking about the Mission and Values of the network. Go here to read the notes as well as to download the audio.
- I have been loving my ESV Study Bible. Here's a good review of it. I think the best part is the online version. When you purchase the Bible you get a code that gives you access to all of the many online features.
- A few months ago I helped to start a church planting network here in Memphis. I've been watching and learning from Jonathan Dodson and the others that he is partnering with in Austin, TX. Here is their church planting network website (under construction). I also just ran across Summit Church's Church Planting Center in Durham, NC.
- Hugh Halter on Money and Membership. We're in the midst of formalizing a membership process at Neighborhood Church, so this was very helpful to me.
Here's the link to the article.
Monday, December 08, 2008
Wednesday, December 03, 2008
My response: "Thank you. I'll keep that in mind today."
Apparently he learned this from watching Backyardigans.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Mortgage rates plunged after the Federal Reserve announced that it would buy up to $500 billion of securitized home loans.Read more.
Jonathan Merritt writes about the shift in political thinking for young evangelicals
Excellent talk from Chris Seay at Q 2007 on consumerism. Check out some of the other talks while you're there.
One of my favorite all-time quotes, and one I need to be reminded of from time to time
Joe Boyd on what it means to be a pilgrim
Seth Godin's Tribes Q&A ebook is available for free download. I haven't read the book yet, but this makes me want to.
The Resurgence has the audio and video from their Shepherding a Child's Heart Conference available for download.
Final resource, I promise…Alan Hirsch and Michael Frost's new book, ReJesus, is out. You can download the intro and chapter 1 here.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
I loved watching Adam's eyes light up as he ran to Santa, and I plan on taking him to see Santa at least five more times. We didn't do pictures this time, since it's been a few months since Adam had a haircut and he's getting the grunge look.
Anyway, that's not what I first intended to write. I wanted to write on the question I posed at the top: "What does Santa have to do with Christmas?" But since I've already written a bit, I'll just share a link with you. I'm a big fan of Ben Witherington's blog, and the following post was written last June. Here's an excerpt:
It is sometimes said that this celebration, and its mythology is not based in the Bible or anything historical or particularly Christian. Some go even further in arguing that Christmas is just an adaptation of the pagan Saturnalia, the reversal festival of the Romans which climaxed on and just after the winter solstice on Dec. 21. This latter claim is false, since Christmas has always been celebrated after the Saturnalia was already over, and in the case of the Orthodox church, long after the Saturnalia was over. But my concern in this post is with the man himself-- jolly ole St. Nick.
Whether you call him St. Nick (short for Nickolas) or Santa Claus ( a barbarization and abbreviation of Saint Nik Claus) we are indeed talking about a real Christian person, Nicholas of Myra.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Mark Batterson writes about Purple Cows
Jonathan Dodson has posted the material for Austin City Life's Partners Class
Matt Chandler on activities that stir up his affections for Christ and activities that rob his affections for Christ
The latest Catalyst Podcast features Dave Ramsey speaking about the economy. This is his talk from October's Catalyst conference. Here's a quote: Our current economic reality is "an artificial low driven by emotion."
From The Resurgence: Matt Chandler writes on the responsibility of being a dad. He says, "I find the fact that my sin directly affects my children to be mortifying."
Mark Driscoll's reflections on the election: "People are longing for Jesus, and tragically left voting for mere presidential candidates."
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Property owners will get their new appraisals in early 2009. Appraisals determine how much taxes homeowners and businesses pay. The difference between a house in Memphis appraised at $100,000 and one appraised at $200,000 is $1,822 a year in taxes.
The total value of assessed property in Shelby County, currently $16 billion, is called the tax base. If it shrinks, governments have two choices: cut spending or raise taxes.
Johnson, who took office in August, isn't saying whether the tax base will grow or shrink.
"I'm not ready to call it," Johnson said last week, after saying in an earlier interview that the tax base would probably be stable. The first people to get the news in January, she says, will be mayors Willie Herenton and A C Wharton.
Closer to the Start - New Creation from Fellowship Church on Vimeo.
I've been listening to this CD for the past couple of days. It's definitely in my top 5 of the year. Check out this video.
You can order the CD here. You can also download a free song!
Friday, October 31, 2008
So, to wrap up this way-too-long-for-Web-attention-spans essay, here is the good news in our very real and sobering predicament: Easy is not going to be easy any longer. Our culture's addiction to ease is unsustainable. A core Christian conviction—one that informed much of the best of Western civilization—is that the good life is not easy. It requires discipline. It invites us into pain. It makes of us ascetics—not people who shun all earthly joys, but people who choose to limit our appetite for ease so that we might actually know true joy.
Yesterday I started reading Deep Economy, by Bill McKibben. This too is helping to shape my thoughts. I don't believe that this economic crisis is new. It's just a new reality for some of us. It's been a reality for many in our country and throughout our world for a long time. Now that it's filtering up to the middle and upper class, though, it's considered a crisis. We've all heard the stat that half the world's population (over 2 billion people) live on less than $2/day. That is a crisis. The staggering infant mortality rate in my city is a crisis. The fact that in 2007, the poverty rate in this country was lower than it was in 1959, is a crisis. The list could go on and on.
Now that the crisis is affecting much more of our population, I believe that we will be forced to make changes that will not only make our lives better in the long run, but will also help to make the lives of others better.
This gives me hope!
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Two years ago Mandy, Adam and I took a trip to New England. Our last stop was Boston, where we spent two nights with Kerry and Kevin. Kerry was Mandy's best friend in high school. One of the highlights of the trip (and there were many) was discovering the Tassimo. Kerry and Kevin had recently gotten one, and they shared their delightful coffee with me. I was immediately taken with this wonderful little machine, and felt that I too needed a Tassimo.
After a few days the need wore off. After all, I already had a coffee maker and an espresso maker. I really didn't need anything else. And that was the end of that. Actually one year later, I incorporated this story into the first sermon that I preached at our church. It was a sermon on the Advent Conspiracy, and I was illustrating the need to fight consumerism. As silly as it might sound, I felt pretty good about myself. I often succumb to consumerism, especially when it comes to tasty gadgets such as this one.
You've probably already figured out that the story didn't end there. A few weeks ago Mandy and the boys went to Paducah to see the grandparents. One day Mandy and Micah went to St. Louis, where Kerry and Kevin now live. At some point Mandy told Kerry about me preaching about the Tassimo. She thought that was really funny, then said, "You know, that thing is packed away in a box. Do you think Robert would like to have it?" Mandy's response: "Oh yeah!"
That night Mandy called me to say that she had a surprise for me, and the next day when they came home, she carried with her the Tassimo. I was definitely surprised, but thrilled. I promptly ordered some coffee pods off Ebay, and it's been bliss ever since.
So...I know that God shows his love for me in ways much more meaningful than this one, but I have to say that this is pretty good lovin.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
- Jordan Cooper writes about the coming changes to the church based on our economic woes. This post led me to the next few posts/articles.
- Jason Evans, Chris Marshal, et al write about the same thing.
- James Howard Kunstler's Forecast for 2008. Again, I found this through Jordan's post. He seems to be quite angry, which means that I don't agree with everything he says. And he's definitely a lot smarter than me, which means that I don't understand much of what he says. However, you can't argue that it's a little eerie at just how much of this came to pass.
- NY Times: Consumers believe that the worse is yet to come
- Ron Paul on the Bailout Plan
- Good insights on the credit crisis from Allelon
- The audio from the Total Church Conference is now online
- My buddy Joe's new movie has just premiered. Here's the info and the trailer
Those of you knew us when we first got Jack know that he was the first baby. After Adam was born things went downhill a bit for Jack. And now with Micah a part of our household, Jack was only getting leftovers when it came to our love and attention. Megan came to pick him up last week, and since then, there have been a few moments when I have really missed him. I wasn't sure if that would be the case. I'm really glad, though, that he's with family. We'll get to see him from time to time, and he'll probably spend an occasional weekend with us.
So here are a few pictures of Jack Dog (by the way, "Jack Dog" is the name that was given to him by Adam).
It's now fifteen years later, and our church uses the English Standard Version (ESV). A few weeks ago I ordered the new ESV Study Bible, and yesterday I received it in the mail. I have been excited to get it, but I have to say that it has already exceeded my expectatations. It definitely becomes my answer to the question, "If you were stranded on a deserted island and could have one book, what would it be?" To top it off, I just realized that by purchasing this Bible, I get free access to the online edition. It's excellent. You can check it out for free by going to the website. I'm recommending this to everyone in our church.
I don't think anyone needs to be reminded of the challenges we face: foreclosures, job losses, shrinking retirement accounts, rising healthcare costs, overextended living and record debt, shrinking oil production and rising costs, rising food costs, etc. What does it mean for us as followers of Jesus? Or, as Francis Schaeffer put it, "How then should we live?"
As scary as this time is, I'm also encouraged. There is hope. It doesn't take one long in their study of church history to learn that the church has thrived most when she could depend on God alone. What happens when our resources begin to vanish? Perhaps it's an opportunity for us to think creatively, to imagine new ways of living, and to redefine what it means to have the good life. Perhaps it's an opportunity for the church to speak prophetically during this time of change.
Monday, October 20, 2008
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
26 points on 10-17 shooting. 6-8 on 3's. 5 steals. Not too shabby, huh?
During his first few preseason games he shot a lot...and missed a lot. But if you look at his shot you have to be impressed (his fade away, in-your-face jumper reminds me a little of Kobe).
My fantasy draft is Thursday night. Will I take a shot on OJ if he's still available in, say, the ninth round???
Thursday, October 02, 2008
I ended up meeting them all at the doctor's office in Bartlett. Adam was very scared, but he did great. The doctor was able to fix his elbow pretty easily, but then was concerned about his wrist. He wanted us to go to another doctor's office, this one in Collierville. So off we went. This doctor did an x-ray to make sure that Adam's wrist wasn't broken.
We were thankful that the x-ray came back negative. The doctor gave Adam a splint to wear for a week or so. He's been doing great wearing it. Another positive that's coming out of it is that Adam hasn't sucked him thumb in several days now because of the splint.
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
- Bailout bill fails to pass - I didn't see that coming, but I'm glad it didn't. I know the government needs to do something, but $700,000,000,000 scares me (doesn't that look a lot scarier than just writing "700 billion?"). There's got to be a Plan B, right?
- For what it's worth, here's Dave Ramsey's thoughts on how to fix this problem
- Mark Batterson's 10 Steps for Setting Life Goals - you'll have to give your name and email address, but I think it's well worth it.
- James Howell on why Christians should be defined by more than just Liberal or Conservative (from Ben Witherington's blog). I especially like the John Yoder quote.
- Wendi Thomas' article on Ron Sider - I got to hear him speak last Wednesday at 2nd Presbyterian Church, and am currently reading one of his books in preparation for a talk I'll give at church in a couple of weeks.
- Ben Witherington's Evangelical Voter's Guide
- New Advent Conspiracy website is up. I'm looking forward to taking part in this again this year.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Five hours later I remembered that I need to find that song, but of course I couldn't remember any lyrics or even what it sounded like. So I went to FM 100's website, and discovered a handy dandy song finder. I scrolled over to 5:30pm and found a song called "Chasing Cars" by the band Snow Patrol. Sure enough that was it. I googled it and saw that I had indeed heard it last week on Grey's Anatomy.
So the thought for the day is that the world wide web brings me great joy and satisfaction.
For more great joy and satisfaction, watch this video.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
On Friday, September 12 we kicked the network off by having a party at Josh and Ginger's house. The party also coincided with the 4-Miler Race, which kicks off the Cooper-Young Festival. We had no idea who was coming. By the end of the evening we figured that we had sixty people show up. Of those sixty, I'm pretty sure that half the kids were three years of age and under.
Here are some pictures that Ginger took.
If you're here in Midtown and would like to join, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Friday, September 19, 2008
Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation. We put no obstacle in anyone's way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, but as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: by great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger, by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, the Holy Spirit, genuine love; by truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; through honor and dishonor, through slander and praise. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold, we live; as punished, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing everything. 2 Corinthians 6:2-10
Thursday, September 18, 2008
The local church is a community of confessing believers in Jesus Christ who obey Scripture by organizing under qualified leadership, gather regularly for preaching and worship, and scatter to evangelize and care for people everywhere. They observe the Biblical sacraments of baptism and communion, and are unified by the Spirit for mission in the world, and are disciplined to live out the Great Commandment and the Great Commission to the glory of God.
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Thursday, September 11, 2008
2 Corinthians 4:7 - 12 (ESV)
Thursday, September 04, 2008
I watched most of the Democratic National Convention in Denver last week, and I'm planning on getting caught up on the Republicans this weekend. As I listen to what both sides say, I find myself agreeing with much of what is said. I like one party's candidate for these reasons, and I like the other party's candidate for completely different reasons. Yet all of those reasons are important to me. It's hard for me to relate to those who see this as such absolute black and white.
I'm encouraged by people like Jim Wallis, who say that we should vote on the issues rather than the person or party, but that seems impossible at a time like this, when everything is becoming more and more polarized. Here's what I do know. Neither of these men is a savior. Neither of them will lead America to destruction, nor will either save us from all of the problems in our society. Both will lead the way their parties have always led, focusing on some things at the expense of others. That's not meant to be pessimistic, just realistic.
For now, I'll just continue to read, think and pray, and then two months from today I'll make use of the liberties I've been given and I'll cast my vote.
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
I ordered it here.
- Point guard C.J. Henry playing for the Tigers this year. Could little brother Xavier be joining him next year? Big news for Memphis
- Unfortunately, this is bigger news: Memphis City Schools cutting ESL and counseling programs to help overcome their deficit.
- Mark Batterson writes, "Vision is the cure for sin. One reason many of us get entangled in sin is because we don't have enough God-ordained vision to keep us busy."
- Al Mohler comments on the Saddleback Civil Forum held on August 16 - it saddens me that he had such a pessimistic view beforehand, but I'm pleased that afterwards, he felt that it was "worthwhile." I thought it was great. I thought both candidates did a fine job, and my respect for Rick Warren grew as a result.
- Steve McCoy on Hitting Refresh
- Mark Driscoll on Activist and Contemplative Disciplines. And here.
- Grizzlies trading for Zach Randolph???
Saturday, August 23, 2008
Here are some of the highlights of the program:
- Among the 23 wealthies countries, the U.S. ranks #1 in infant mortality
- Black babies die at three times the rate of white babies.
- Memphis ranks #1 in U.S. large cities
- A baby dies in Memphis every 43 hours
- As of today, unwed mothers have given birth to 5847 babies. The majority are born at The Med.
- Caring for a premature baby costs $55,000 on average. Obviously, prenatal care is key.
- Nationwide, 65% of children grow up without a father
- There are three zip codes in Memphis where babies die at the same rate as some third world countries (38108 is one of them).
The Kingdom of God is now...and it's not yet. All pain and suffering will end one day, but that day has not arrived. There is still evil, brokenness, pain and death. But the Kingdom of God is here now. It hasn't fully arrived, but it is here. Jesus came to preach good news to the poor, to proclaim freedom for the prisoners, to release the oppressed, to bind up the brokenhearted, and to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor (Luke 4/Isaiah 61). Jesus isn't physically with us today, but that does not mean that this gospel work is not happening. Today he empowers His bride to take on this task of reconciliation.
I pray that God's Kingdom would reign in Memphis and would reign over this problem.
Here is an article about the show, along with video clips. Here is a list of organizations who are trying to make a difference. A couple of other good articles are here, here and here.
Monday, August 18, 2008
Evangelism in the Early Church, Michael Green
The Celtic Way of Evangelism, George Hunter
The Tangible Kingdom, Hugh Halter & Matt Smay
More Ready than You Realize, Brian McLaren
Out of the Salt Shaker and Into the World, Rebecca Manley Pippert
The Gospel and Personal Evangelism, Mark Dever
Ancient-Future Evangelism, Robert Webber
Monday, August 11, 2008
"The Americans? We're going to smash them. That's what we came here for."
Watch the results here. You'll have to download a plug-in, but it's well worth it!
Friday, August 08, 2008
I went to bed thinking about it and woke up thinking about. I won't say anymore because I don't want to spoil it for anyone.
Wednesday, August 06, 2008
- The Junky Car Club - I remember hearing about this awhile back. I think my 1998 Nissan Altima would qualify. I've never had a car payment, and never plan to. It's free to join and you get a free bumper sticker. Awesome!
- Walking with God, by John Eldredge - I finally finished listening to this book during our vacation. It's one of those books that I feel I need to continue reading; a few more times and maybe some of it will stick! I highly recommend it.
- Ed Stetzer writes about apostles
- Alan Hirsch fleshes out APEST - we are getting ready to form a leadership team at NC, so this is interesting reading. I've heard Hirsch talk about this, but this is the first time I've seen it fleshed out like this.
- This guy asked 50 people to write about the term "missional." This guy summarized it here.
Saturday, July 19, 2008
This morning we are heading to St. George Island in Florida with Mandy's sister and parents. Mandy, Micah and I are traveling in one vehicle, and Adam will go with the others. Today we're driving five hours and staying the night in Montgomery. In the morning we'll travel the final five hours. Hopefully Micah will do ok riding that long in the car. We're going to take our time and stop whenever we need to.
Friday, July 11, 2008
The assumption of Jesus’ program for his people on earth was that they would live their lives as his students and co-laborers. They would find him so admirable in every respect – wise, beautiful, powerful, and good – that they would constantly seek to be in his presence and be guided, instructed, and helped by him in every aspect of their lives (273).
The narrow gate is not, as so often assumed, doctrinal correctness. The narrow gate is obedience – and the confidence in Jesus necessary to it. The broad gate, by contrast, is simply doing whatever I want to do (275).
A disciple, or apprentice, is simply someone who has decided to be with another person, under appropriate conditions, in order to become capable of doing what that person does or to become what that person is (282).
And as a disciple of Jesus I am with him, by choice and by grace, learning from him how to live in the kingdom of God. This is the crucial idea. That means, we recall, how to live within the range of God’s effective will, his life flowing through mine. Another important way of putting this is to say that I am learning from Jesus to live my life as he would live my life if he were I. I am not necessarily learning to do everything he did, but I am learning how to do everything I do in the manner that he did all that he did (283).
Only with such images (pearl & hidden field) before us can we correctly assess the famous “cost of discipleship” of which so much is made. Do you think the businessman who found the pearl was sweating over its cost? An obviously ridiculous question! The only thing these people were sweating about was whether they would “get the deal.” Now that is the soul of the disciple (292).
The entire point of this passage (Luke 14:25-33) is that as long as one thinks anything may really be more valuable than fellowship with Jesus in his kingdom, one cannot learn from him (293).
The counting of the cost is to bring us to the point of clarity and decisiveness. It is to help us to see. Counting the cost is precisely what the man with the pearl and the hidden treasure did. Out of it came their decisiveness and joy. It is decisiveness and joy that are the outcomes of the counting (293).
Thursday, July 10, 2008
- Ten Blogging Tips from Mark Batterson
- Ben Witherington concludes his challenge of the thoughts found in Pagan Christianity, by Frank Viola and George Barna.
- Jon Zens responds to Ben Witherington
- NT Wright on The Colbert Report
- Hulu - Mandy and I have just discovered this site for tv shows, movies, and clips. We've been watching Arrested Development together. I don't know why I never watched it before. It's awesome!
- Ed Stetzer gives a bullet point review of the new research from The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life.
- Dallas Willard on Discipleship. We're going through a series on discipleship at NC, and this was one of the nuggets I (re)discovered and read last week.
Friday, July 04, 2008
What a great reminder of the upside-down Kingdom. It's amazing how much I learn from my child!
Tuesday, July 01, 2008
On the other hand, though, perhaps the state of our economy is an opportunity for change. I just read a great article from Bankrate. Here's an excerpt:
If you are old enough to have worn a mood ring, Earth shoes or bell-bottoms the first time around, you probably recall the "stagflation" days of the 1970s with a bemused mix of humor, national pride and nostalgia.
The forecast was just as dire back then, and for good reason. In 1975, inflation topped 14 percent, unemployment approached 6 percent (but doubled that in some locales), and fuel and food prices were headed skyward.
Most of us would be well into the Reagan years before our wallets grew appreciably heavier.
The funny thing is, I don't remember the sacrifice. We drove used cars and lived within our means, since car leasing and credit cards were not yet widespread.
We rented and shared apartments, since the average home mortgage rate hovered around 10 percent.
We shouldered none of the financial burden of such modern conveniences as cell phones, high-speed Internet or fitness center memberships.
No one wants a recession, of course. It can cause serious economic pain for millions.
However, economists tell us there are some reasons to actually welcome and perhaps even embrace a recession. After all, a recession is the ebb part of the natural ebb and flow of the U.S. economy.
Monday, June 30, 2008
If all goes as planned, we're set to go home today. As great as this hospital is, it will be good to be at our house, sleeping in our bed. Mandy was able to walk around the third floor yesterday. When she had a c-section with Adam, it was day five or six before she was able to do this, so we were very pleased. Micah has been discharged, and we're waiting to see Mandy's doctor this morning so she can take out her staples.
Sunday, June 29, 2008
As the day wore on, Mandy's contractions were getting stronger, but the dilation was very slow. That, coupled with the fact that Micah's heart rate was occasionally spiking, caused the doctor to want to perform a c-section. Mandy's doctor was not there, so we didn't really have a choice, though we wondered if she would have done the same thing.
The bad news about all of that is that the surgery was pretty rough on Mandy, though once again she was such a trooper. It also means a longer road to recovery. The good news is that we had Micah a lot sooner than we would have had she continued laboring, and he was very healthy! Almost all of his family got to see him soon after his birth as well. Even Adam was there when it happened.
Saturday, June 28, 2008
When we arrived the nurse said that she only dilated 3 cm or so. An hour later this was still the case. Normally, they would probably send her home, but since she had a c-section with Adam, they wanted her to stay. Megan is here, and Mandy's parents will be here soon. I'm sure Adam is having a great time with his Nana (she is taking him to the Children's Museum this morning).
Her contractions have been getting stronger over the last hour, so hopefully they are doing what they are supposed to do. We may be here for awhile, but I'm glad we're here.
More to come soon...
Monday, June 23, 2008
Sunday, June 22, 2008
I guess I'm going to have to go to the grocery store and buy a bottle...or three.
As we watched, Mandy pointed out that all of my groomsmen now live outside of Tennessee. The funny thing is that while I was in California, most of them lived in Tennessee. Anyway, it got me thinking about the life stages we all go with, and the friends that we have as we go through those stages. At our wedding, our high school and college friends were with us, but we also had many of our newer friends from Nashville, where we spent our first year of marriage. During that time in Nashville, I began to lose touch with my college buddies. Then we moved to California, met new friends, and once again lost touch with friends.
Now that we're back in Tennessee, it's happening all over again, though we've been able to reconnect with friends here (facebook has a little something to do with that). I realize that I'm not very good at keeping up these relationships, especially when long distance is involved. I know that some of that is inevitable, but some of that is also just part of my personality.
In each phase of life, Mandy and I have been blessed to have some very significant friendships, and I'm very grateful for that.
Saturday, June 21, 2008
Friday, June 20, 2008
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
- Starbucks now has free wi-fi. Go here to sign up.
- Rolling Stone interviews Chris Martin of Coldplay. The title of the article: "Jesus of Uncool."
- Speaking of Coldplay, their new album is out today (yay!), and you can stream it in its entirety here. Note that you might have to download a plugin.
- Kevin Rains writes about positive deviance. Very thought provoking. Be sure to check out the Fast Company article as well.
- Great quote by Elizabeth Fiorenza on the relationship between spiritual formation, community & mission.
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
One of the big changes is in our terminology. We're using the term "missionary" more than "church planter." The reason is that we feel it is necessary to take the posture of learner when we step into a new culture. We want to help them to better understand their culture before deciding what the church should look like.
- Mutual accountability and confession of sin
- Scripture reading
- Prayer for our friends who are not followers of Jesus
- The Gospel in All Its Forms, by Tim Keller (this article is the basis for the talk he gave at the Exponential Conference in Orlando.
- John Carroll reminds me why Memphis is such a great place to live (and visit).
- The Commercial Appeal reminds me why Memphis can be a scary place to live.
- Grand openings are not so grand according to Seth Godin (I kind of wish I had read this a year ago)
- Ed Stetzer gives his opinion on the multi-site church strategy
Saturday, June 07, 2008
Essentially, we wanted to help church planters consider how a missionary would start a church through incarnational means instead of throwing up a church service and hoping people would show up.
Friday, June 06, 2008
During all of this, I realized that I am far from ready. We went to one birthing class, and I've already forgotten how the breathing works. My reaction: I need to read something. I probably also need to chill out a bit, but I want to be there for Mandy during this time. I want to be a good coach. She has to do all the work, but I want to play my role with excellence.
Wednesday, June 04, 2008
You might be wondering why we are behaving in this manner since we already have a child. We have an explanation: Adam was born via c-section. On the Monday morning that he was born, Mandy talked to her doctor and he asked, "Would you like to have your baby this afternoon?" After checking our calendars, we said, "Sure, that sounds good."
It's going to be a little different this time.
Tuesday, June 03, 2008
Bob Roberts writes about Missional Families
Southern Baptist Pastors think differently than the rest of America (no, this isn't a joke; very eye-opening; make sure to click on the photo gallery)
Alan Hirsch reviews Made to Stick, by Chip and Dan Heath (I'm currently reading this book)
Helpful definition of Missional Community
Philip Yancey writes about brokenness. Check out the subtitle: "Why I Sometimes Wish I Was an Alcoholic."
David Fitch says that it takes 5-10 years "to nourish a missional community into a sustainable church."