Sunday, July 30, 2006

I Saw the Light

On July 16th, we gathered as a community and baptised triplets in the May River in front of our historic Calhoun Street campus in Old Bluffton, SC. Highlights included:

Our Worship Leader, David Sadd Praying, "God we ask that you stop the rain," and having it simultaneously end by the time the prayer is over. Julia Pratt, mommy to Bella, Camden, and Ava, opening the service with Sara GrovesGenerations: Remind me of this with every decision / Generations will reap what I sow / I can pass on a curse or a blessing / To those I will never know / To my great, great, great grand daughter / Live in peace / To my great, great, great grand son Live in peace... full lyrics

Getting the chance to lead worship with my dear friend Trip Cormeny
Ending the service with a David Crowder version of the Old Classic, I saw the Light

Blue Like Jazz

Thanks to Tony Aaker, my world traveling bibliophile friend, for pointing out Donald Miller's book, Blue Like Jazz. Following in the footsteps of (Lauren Winner Girl Meets God), Miller simply exposes us to his past and honestly recalls what it has been like to grow up in America and what it is like, at the same time, to find faith in Christ in this Post Christendom age.

Writes Donald Miller in Chapter One,

"About the time I turned ten was when I started to sin. I believe it was ten,
although it could have been earlier, but ten is about the age a boy starts to sin, so I am sure it was in there somewhere. Girls begin to sin when they are twenty-three or something, but they do life much softer by their very nature and so need less of a run at things. I sinned only in bits at first, small lies, little inconsistencies to teachers about homework and that sort of thing. I learned the craft well, never looking my teacher in the eye, always speaking quickly, from the diaphragm, never feeble about the business of deception. “Where is your homework?” My teacher would ask. “I lost it.” “You lost it yesterday. You lost it last week.” “I am terrible about losing things. I need to learn.” (Always be self-deprecating.) “What am I going to do with you, Donald?” “I am grateful for your patience.” (Always be grateful.) “I should call your mother.” “She’s deaf. Boating accident. Piranha.” (Always be dramatic. Use hand gestures.) I also used a great deal of cusswords. Not those churchly cusswords, dang and darnit, dagnabit and frickin’, but big, robust cusswords like the ones they use in PG movies, the ones the guys would say only to each other. Cusswords are pure ecstasy when you are twelve, buzzing in the mouth like a battery on the tongue. My best friend at the time, Roy, and I would walk home from school... Read Chapter One in its entirity

Miller is refreshing, naive, and vulnerable. He writes with the hipster in mind and at the same time realizes that he is writing with the hispter in mind. Theologically speaking he is sloppy and wrong at times, but he is willing to admit that he is solppy and wrong at times. I would recommend this book for two kinds of people: first, for the Christian who has been enculturated into Christianity (you say things like, may God bless you, or Let's pray for traveling mercies), this book will jolt you out of the jargony world of evangelical Christianity and show you that God is moving to bring salvation to freaks and geeks as well. Second, for the person who longs to have a relationship with Jesus Christ but does not like Christians or what you think Christians are all about, this book will wake you up to see that we are REAL people, just like you.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

On Zahl, Henley and The Heart of the Gospel

This is a great sermon from Paul Zahl, Dean of Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry, Entitled, The Heart of the Matter: Forgiveness, based upon Jeremiah 31.

"The time is coming," declares the LORD, "when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah.32 It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them," declares the LORD. 33 "This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time," declares the LORD. "I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. 34 No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest," declares the LORD. "For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more." Jeremiah 31:31-34

From Steven Katzman: The Face of Forgiveness

During Stephen Hill's sermon, "Die Right," I began to reflect upon my personal life. I hadn't believed in God in such a long time, perhaps because of what Rabbi Kripke once told me: "God will only exist in a man's heart once he becomes totally mature and at peace with himself." Hence no need for any dogmatic belief system, external or internal. I am very aware that it was possible to have misunderstood the rabbi. After all, I was an impressionable eighteen-year-old going through a personal hell with my family, fathering a child I still don't know to this day.
I survived two broken marriages, and then met Sharon, my third wife of sixteen years. I felt deeply fulfilled and enriched in our relationship. I was at peace with my parents. I felt that I could leave this world without regretting that I never said "I love you." I would have liked to think that I... read more

The Heart of the Matter by Don Henley
I got the call today, I didn't wanna hear
But I knew that it would come
An old true friend of ours was talkin' on the phone
She said you found someone
And I thought of all the bad luck,
And the struggles we went through
And how I lost me and you lost you
What are these voices outside love's open door
Make us throw off our contentment
And beg for something more?

I'm learning to live without you now
But I miss you sometimes
The more I know, the less I understand
All the things I thought I knew, I'm learning again
I've been tryin' to get down to the Heart of the Matter
But my will gets weak
And my thoughts seem to scatter
But I think it's about forgiveness
Even if, even if you don't love me anymore

These times are so uncertain
There's a yearning undefined
...People filled with rage
We all need a little tenderness
How can love survive in such a graceless age
The trust and self-assurance that can lead to happiness
They're the very things we kill, I guess
Pride and competition cannot fill these empty arms
And the work I put between us,
Doesn't keep me warm

I'm learning to live without you now
But I miss you, Baby
The more I know, the less I understand
All the things I thought I figured out, I have to learn again
I've been tryin' to get down to the Heart of the Matter
But everything changes
And my friends seem to scatter
But I think it's about forgiveness
Even if, even if you don't love me anymore

There are people in your life who've come and gone
They let you down and hurt your pride
Better put it all behind you; life goes on
You keep carrin' that anger, it'll eat you inside

I've been tryin' to get down to the Heart of the Matter
But my will gets weak
And my thoughts seem to scatter
But I think it's about forgiveness
Even if, even if you don't love me anymore

I've been tryin' to get down to the Heart of the Matter
Because the flesh will get weak
And the ashes will scatter
So I'm thinkin' about forgiveness
Even if, even if you don't love me anymore

Monday, July 24, 2006

Mr. Bean - Church On Sunday

I have used this video clip of Mr. Bean going to church for youth groups and for a course called ALPHA, which introduces folks to Christianity. The clip is hysterical, especially when he sings the gloria

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Bosses Slaves and the Art of Demotivation

The stuff from which paradies corporate America is very funny. This site takes on the Corporation by Imitating the corporation, except with a twist. Depsair uses a very funny line of Demotivational posters that parady all of those overly simplistic motivational posters that corporations put in meeting rooms.
Despair Inc. The Art of Demotivation

Monday, July 17, 2006

The You Asked For It Sermon Series Overview

The results are in. Over the past few months, I surveyed all who attend our Sunday morning CrossPoint service to find out some of the topics that folks are interested in hearing about on Sunday morning. When the many many requests were “boiled down”, they fell into four BIG categories that have turned into a sermon series called The Biggest Questions (To listen to on e of the sermons, just click on the links below).

#1 The Biggest Book: BigQuestions:How Can I Make Sense off the Bible? 2Timothy3.14-17&4.1-5- Jay Slocum.mp3

#2 The Biggest Desire: BigQuestions: How Can I Reach My Unbelieving...? 1Corinthians 7.10-24- Jay Slocum.mp3

#3 The Biggest Dilemma: BigQuestions: If God Is In Control, Do My Choices Matter? John 6.25-48- Jay Slocum.mp3
John 6:25-48

#4 The Biggest Connection: BigQuestions: How Can I Connect With God? Matthew 6.5-15- Jay Slocum.mp3
Mathew 6:5-15

Monday, July 10, 2006

The Bible for Dummies

I recently finished teaching a class called The Bible for Dummies as a response to requests for a clearer understanding of the Bible. As the class developed, I realized that the greatest need was for folks to be able to trust that the Bible is a Divine authority that we need to submit to rather than a human device that we get to use at our discretion. Without a clear ability to submit to the Bible as God's Word, folks drift away from Bible reading, from Bible living, and from ever being able to be proficient in the things of God. So, even though we spent a great deal of time making this course a tool that would allow folks to know the Meta-story of the Bible, and to be able to navigate the Bible, it was crucial to really emphasize the Authority of the Bible as a cornerstone for everything else. Below is the course outline and two of the sessions (two failed to record) as well as two resources that I developed to help folks understand the scope of the Scripture.

Part 1 - Knowing What the Bible Says
Part 2 - Knowing How to Use the Bible - not available
Part 3 - Knowing That You Can Trust the Bible
Part 4 - Knowing What's In the Bible - not available

Other helpful teachings on the Authority of the Bible:
How did Jesus treat the Bible? Jesus' Take on Scripture - Mark 7:1-13
The whole Bible in Thirty Minutes How Can I Make Sense off the Bible? - 2 Timonthy 3.14-17 and 4.1-5 (June 4th)