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Archive for May, 2008

I am reading a book called “Lord, Save Me From Your Followers” by Dan Merchant. I’m just into it, but it is an interesting read so far. The basic premise is how Christians in America have gotten so far away from the message of the gospel that when asked on the street what Christians are like, the answers are the opposite of what we see in the New Testament of what the church looked like in the early 1st century. I think that was a run-on sentence. Anywho, watch this clip on the book.

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What I Did Last Summer

The Fam and I will be taking a little vacation the week of July 4th and it got me nostalgic for last summer.  Here’s a little trip down amnesia lane.

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Tim Keller’s article, “The Gospel in All its Forms” from the newest issue of Leadership Journal, is now online.

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As I looked at the clock this morning during the sermon and it said, “11:40”, I knew I could not open this can of worms.  Oh well, there will be other opportunities.  The cool thing about blogging is that I can write what I could not preach because of time restraints.  

Jesus says in John 16:33 that we will have trouble in this world.  I then talked about how we attempt to deal with the troubles of our lives when they come.  The one point that I didn’t have time to make is that we attempt to deal with our troubles by what some are calling the most prominent false gospel in America.  It’s called “Moralistic Therapeutic Deism”.  Let’s break that down a bit:

Moralistic:  good people go to Heaven when they die

Therapeutic:  the one purpose in my life is to be happy

Deism:  God is out there somewhere and when I need Him, I’ll let Him know

A group of researchers from Chapel Hill conducted over 3,000 interviews with American teenagers and they found this new form of religion has emerged and they published the results in a book called, “Soul Searching: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers”.  

Moralistic Therapeutic Deism is really an undercurrent in American Christianity as well.  Many of us are led to believe that following Jesus means that we are to be good little boys and girls and that we are supposed to be happy all the time and when suffering and troubles come it’s because an angry God is punishing us (didn’t some TV preacher say that Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans because God was punishing the city?).  

The gospel crushes all three of those ideas.  The gospel says we are more sinful than we could ever imagine and that we are more loved than we ever dare dream.  Good people don’t go to Heaven.  Sinful people are made good because of Jesus’ goodness and then we go to Heaven (not to mention that Jesus is also our Substitute, in that He took our place on the Cross, paying our sin debt that we could never pay back).  The gospel also says that troubles will come to us in this world and when they do they are always for our benefit (we usually can’t see the benefit until years after the trouble).  And God is not our cosmic therapist.  God is not going to say to you, “You know, it’s ok to sleep with your boyfriend if you really love him.  Just do what feels good.”   The gospel also says that in Jesus, we have a God who enters human history and human suffering and not only knows, but has experienced everything that we have experienced.  The God of Christianity is so different from any other god of all the major religions.  The God of Christianity got dirty (without sinning) as he came to this earth in the Person of Jesus.  

Ok, you can see why I couldn’t preach that this morning.  If you want to read more about “Moralistic Therapeutic Deism”, click on the links below:

 Article #1

Article #2

Article #3

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Jack and Howie

I think it is very important to give your children haircuts that the Hollywood celebrities have.  It really sets then up for a healthy self-esteem.  For example, we have given Jack the “Howie” haircut.  If you don’t know who Howie is, then shame on you.  Howie is, of course, the brother of David Spade’s character in the hit film, The Benchwarmers.  Howie is deathly afraid to go out in the sun, so therefore he lives in the closet of his and brother’s house. 

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My good friend, Tim Melton, just started a new podcast called “The GravesEnd Podcast”.  Tim is Assistant Pastor at Surfside PCA in Myrtle Beach.  In this first podcast, Tim and the Youth Pastor at Surfside, Justin Woodall, discuss a song they heard while eating wings at Beef-O-Brady’s called, “Handlebars” by Flobots.  You can listen to his podcast by clicking here.  

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Because God is a good God, does that mean that everything in my life should be easy?  Should I be able to hit the “Easy” button like those Staples commercials?  Should my life as a follower of Jesus look like the life that guys like Joel Osteen promise my life should look like?  My self-centered heart says, “Yes, God wants me to be rich and happy.”  Fortunately, this is not what the Bible teaches about my relationship with God.  I’ve said this before, but I need to hear myself say it again.  Jesus does not promise for the hurt to go away, but that He is with me in the hurt.  I am speaking on many fronts right now (Luke’s surgery, moving again, watching the sadness of my wife, to name a few).   The promise of the gospel is that one day “all the sad things will become untrue” (Tolkien said that, I think in LOTR).  I need to be reminded of the hope of the gospel today.  We live in a fallen world where there is much sadness and brokenness and pain in our lives.  This is not the way things were supposed to be, but it was our rebellion in the garden that got us here.  Green Day and U2 made a video two years ago about what should’ve happen in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.  It is a good reminder that the gospel does promise us that this world will be made right by Jesus when He returns.  The cross confirms to us that He has already begun the restoration that our world is crying out for.

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