Saturday, January 30, 2010

LOST- Deep TV and the DVD

I am seriously excited about this Tuesday's Season 6 premiere of Lost. The show has proved that TV can move beyond being a device that can only provide shallow entertainment to being a truly deep, thick, reflective device that can hold enough collective memory and enough story line that it is actually giving the novel a run for its money. Who would have thought that this could be possible. But, the invention of serial television has proved that TV can be deep. Of course, without the DVD set to take home just as one would a good novel, this would not have been possible. The story line would get buried in the television graveyard. Now, with serial shows like Lost we have amazing threads of character development, plot lines, and the pressure on writers to offer viewers really thoughtful ideas about the meaning of Life.

Here is a Season 6 promo

Monday, January 25, 2010

There is Blood on My Door: A Review of Colonizing the Cosmos, Wood and Stone

To hear this song, Click Here

Some songs are playful. You hum them while you vacuum or run on the treadmill. There are other songs that force you to stop because they are like waking from a dream that will not let you forget or being punched in the face by a person whose been waiting for you around a corner because of what you said about his sister. Yeah. Colonizing the Cosmos song, Wood and Stone is like that. It wallops you. It wakes you up from your dream and you cannot forget it.

For the unsuspecting listener Wood and Stone immediately forces you to start asking questions. Wait a minute, “I can’t live without you/ That’s how I know your killing me.” What is he talking about? A girl? A career? A drug? Maybe we will get the answer from the next line? “You were a princess/ Looking for some love/ I made you a King/ that’s where I screwed up.” Yeah, it could be a girl, but then he says “I made you a King” so it is metaphor, pure metaphor.

The answer must be yes, it is a girl, a job, a drug. Is he saying that anything we cannot live without is a god and that those gods let us down because they cannot pull off being an ultimate in our life? Oh, ok, so maybe that’s why he calls the song Wood and Stone. Manmade gods. I did not see that coming at first. Subtle. Multi-layered. POW!

But it just gets worse (or better I guess) because I can’t stop listening to this song. “You are my theology/ My compass star/ My art and vanity/My family history.” Moyer has listed a few of the things we depend on for life. And what do we give in exchange? He says, “I gave you my firstborn/ Left you in charge/ Let you into my bedroom/ Where I showed you my scars.” This seems pretty self explanatory as multiple images pop up- a father who virtually ignores his family for a career that takes him over for 90 hours a week or a women who loses her marriage for the affair that is going to solve everything or the addict who loses everything for more of whatever he or she is a slave to.

Ok, so now the song takes another turn and gets mysterious. Josh starts yelling, “But now there’s blood on my door/ Can hear me? But now there’s blood on my door/ And I know you can hear me.” Is he saying that the idol has wounded him? Is he crying out to his god in anger or remorse? Or, is this a veiled reference to something ancient and redemptive? “There is blood on my door/ Can you hear me? I know you can hear me? The Jew, the Christian, the student of things ancient and sacrificial might see this as a reference to “The Passover” where God’s people place blood on their doors so that when He passes over their homes, they will not receive judgment but pardon? Maybe. Or maybe he is just being poetic? Maybe.

Wood And Stone

I can’t live without you/ That’s how I know you’re killing me/ You were a princess/ Looking for some love/ But I made you a King/ That’s where I screwed up

Oh oh oh oh oh/ How it pains me to love/ Oh oh oh oh oh/ How it pains me to forgive

You are my theology/ My compass star/ My art and vanity/ My family history

I gave you my firstborn/ Left you in charge/ Let you into my bedroom/ Where I showed you my scars

Ooooohhh/ Ooooohhh/ But now there’s blood on my door/ Can hear me?/ But now there’s blood on my door/ And I know you can hear me

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Bishop Martyn Minns is Interviewed About the March for Life

Bishop Martyn Minns, who is also my father-in-law, had the honor of delivering the opening prayer at this years Washington DC March for Life. It was nice to see him act as a voice of reason in an interview covering the March.

No one calls Martyn Minns "Marty" so it was funny to have the reporter introduce him in this way (lol).

Secondly, I think that we need to step back from Roe V Wade as a law that makes women feel that they are justified in making a choice to kill a living child that they are carrying just as we have stepped back from making such things as slavery a law that permitted the degradation of humans. Laws do not justify immoral acts. Secondly, I wonder why no one ever goes back to the choice of having sex as a basis for a women's choice and the control of her body. We all have a choice about whether we want to engage in a sexual act and that is where the control of our bodies needs to begin. Let's encourage people to take control of their bodies by starting with the basic fact that sex makes babies. Come on people! Obviously, rape is another tragic question to have to deal with. But, as Bishop Minns points out, we are making abortion equal to birth control which is so tragic.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Me-Harmony or...

There is more to marriage than compatibility. How about changing one another into the likeness of God.

Ephesians 5:25-33 25Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church— 30for we are members of his body. 31"For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh." 32This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.There is more to marriage than compatibility. How about changing one another into the likeness of God.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Week Three- Wednesday: The Supremacy of Christ and Truth in a Postmodern World (Voddie Baucham)

The Desiring God Conference of 2006, focusing on postmodernity, was GIANT. If you have never accessed this incredible influential resource, please do so.

The Supremacy of Christ and Truth in a Postmodern World

2006 Desiring God National Conference

The Supremacy of Christ in a Postmodern World

First Saturday Morning General Session

Voddie Baucham

Listen Watch Download


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Week Three: Tuesday- Singleness - The Biblical Guidelines cont. (Tim & Kathy Keller)

RPC-Singleness-The_Biblical_Guidelines_cont.mp3

Timothy and Kathy Keller continue to discuss the biblical view of singleness and marriage in an open forum setting. Topics discussed include the biblical passage on eunuchs, coping with romantic rejection, spiritual growth as a single person, seeking a spouse, making an idol out of a romantic relationship, meaningless romantic relationships, dating non-Christians, and myths about both singleness and marriage.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Week Three: Monday- The Biblical Guidelines for Singleness (Tim & Kathy Keller)

RPC-Singleness-The_Biblical_Guidelines.mp3

Timothy and Kathy Keller discuss the Biblical view of dating, sex, and romance; the goodness of singleness; and the Christian ordering of the different types of love. This talk was done in an open forum setting and is followed by a Q&A.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Week Two: Friday- Give the a Field not a Loaf (Haddon Robonson)


Not a sermon (today), but a sermon resource from Haddon Robinson at Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary. This is a part of a series of preaching tips and is helpful for all communicators. I have used the same idea with the metaphor give them a gold ring in a box wrapped in fine paper rather than gold you just pulled out of the mine.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Week Two: Thursday- Has Grace Transformed the Way You Live? (John Sartelle)

Has Grace Transformed the Way You Live?

This sermon is classic John Sartelle from Ephesians 2:1-10.

John Sartelle is a great southern presbyterian preacher. His prayer preceding his sermon are amazing. He is also a great orator and most importantly really understands the Gospel and the role of grace in our lives. About five years ago, I think I listened to about fifty of his sermon in a month.

About Third Millennium Audio- This resource is a mixed bag. Some of the preaching is dismal. Some of it is quite good, and a few of the folks in the mix, such as John Sartelle, are really good preachers. Overall, it is good reformed preaching with sound doctrine.



Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Week Two: Wednesday- Were You There (The Rev. Dr. Peter Marshall)

Were You There (Peter Marshall)

Here is a classic sermon from The Rev. Dr. Peter Marshall, definitely one of the top ten greatest preachers of the 20th century.

I remember listening to Peter Marshall tens years ago, completely gripped by his oration. Peter Marshall served as pastor of the New York Avenue Church in Washington D.C. and chaplain of the United States Senate. Senators always made it a point to be on-hand for his morning invocation. Peter Marshall died in 1949 but his voice lives on in few recordings of his amazing voice and preaching.

Week Two: Tuesday- Judah and Tamar (Mark Driscoll)


In this sermon, Mark Driscoll unravels the Judah and Tamar story with the brutal force of an mixed martial artist grappling for five rounds in the octagon. This sermon is not for the faint at heart. If you tend toward wanting things to be PC, or get easily offended, this sermon will infuriate you. However, that is Marks point- sometimes the best thing that can happen to us is to become scared as hell. On a negative note, Mark tends to offer the solution for many of our sins as confess, repent, and do not sin anymore without really getting into the mechanics of HOW to repent and stop sinning. It is well known that Mark has an iron will and this is probably all that is needed for him. If it is sin, stop. That is it. However, there are tons of cases where folks know something is sin, and yet they continue- pride, jealousy, greed. At any rate, this sermon is worth listening to on many levels and classic in your face Mark Driscoll.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Week Two: Monday- Love, Lust, and Liberation (Tim Keller)

RPC-Love_Lust_and_Liberation.mp3

Lust exists, it is powerful, and we must respect its power. The Bible rejoices in sex and sexual desire, but lust is an impersonal, inordinate desire and an idolatrous search for meaning. Lust can be overcome if you esteem Jesus as your bridegroom and the lover of your soul.

Friday, January 08, 2010

It's Called a Phenomenon- RED, Black, Taupe, Nude


Ok, so maybe seeing an overwhelming number of posts on Facebook with a single word like, red, black lace, taupe or nude- sporty, is not the same as the entire country of Iran rebelling against the government with Tweets (twitter text messages) but yesterday an overwhelming number of women who are tapped into social networks like twitter, Facebook, and even old fashioned email, showed their support for the victums of breast cancer by updating their Facebook profile (a message that tells people what you are up to or stand for...) with the color of the bra they were wearing at the time of the post.

This is what we call a phenomenon. The wave in a football stadium is a social phenomenon seen in organized sports. Uggs are a phenomenon of the fashion world. You get the idea, I hope. At any rate, it was a blip in time but consider the implications of this.

Thousands to hundreds of thousands of women across the world all speak at the same general time in support of a cause. Albeit, it was a playful way of showing support and a bit of a racy way of getting folks to pay attention. It was also a bit cryptic for many evoking a lot of, "Hey, why is everyone just posting a color? What does this mean?"

But, these were all factors in what made the expiriment work. That, in fact is what made it a phenomenon. Sorry, I digress.

More on the implications of this as a social phenomenon. What if the whole world could be mobilized to draw attention to the water problem in Kenya, or the trafficking of children in China by posting an idea or opinion on Facebook. See, Fcaebook and Twitter can be shallow or even narcissistic forms of communication that simply distract people from "really relating." But, yesterday, women across the world showed us that a new way of communicating is heading our way.

We shall see what tomorrow brings.

Week One: Friday- Forgiveness (Rob Bell)

Forgiveness - Rob Bell Slides

The thing that makes Rob Bell so great as a preacher is that he does massive amounts of work on the historic context of Jesus and the world that he lives in. I love his language studies, his sense of humor and his ability to make the connection between their culture and ours. Additionally, Rob is such a great communicator. His section on forgiving others with the snorkel example is profound.

Note: One of the basic premises of this sermon is that "religion has evolved." For philosophy-theology types, this is way too Hegalian for me. Progressives who reject Jesus' death on the cross think that religion has evolved and that is why we no longer need the atonement. We are "past" that. I do not think religions have evolved. We are the same spiritual beings as our ancient forefathers. We just couch our spirituality in secular terms rather than physical-supernatural terms. Do not misread me, Rob believes in the atonement as is made clear in the sermon. And, he preaches that we have a need for the atonement in order to be redeemed. But, I think he is being sloppy or has read too much progressive commentary, when he says that religion has evolved.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Week One: Thursday- Cultivating a Healthy Marriage (Tim and Kathy Keller)

RPC-Cultivating_a_Healthy_Marriage_Part_1_-_Lecture.mp3

Using the metaphor of cultivating a garden, Timothy and Kathy Keller address methods of cultivating healthy marriages by exploring eight practical areas in marriage: planning and planting, roles, headship and submission, fertilizing and watering, love language, sex, conflict resolution, forgiveness and repentance, and spiritual life together. This talk is followed by a Q&A.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Week One: Wednesday- Jacob and His Two Wives (Mark Driscoll)


Mark is Hysterical in this sermon. At times, the sermon feels more like stand up than preaching. Yet, in the laughter, there are vivid and deep insights into the human condition. This sermon is great for men struggling to "stand up" and be men (what Driscoll sermon isn't good for this) in the midst of their relationships with the opposite sex.

To Read the Scripture (Genesis 29:14-35)

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Week One: Tuesday- The Struggle for Love (Tim Keller)

Perhaps the most gripping moment for me in this sermon is the point where Tim Keller draws from Earnest Becker and the New York Times to point out that Jacob and Leah's desperation and longing for meaning and ours are no different. Think the Bible is irrelevent, oudated, something we have "gotten over." Think again.

The Struggle for Love (Genesis 29:15-35)

How can a human being be a god-like ‘everything’ to another? No human relationship can bear the burden of godhood, and the attempt has to take its toll in some way on both parties…If your partner is your ‘All’ then any shortcoming in him becomes a major threat to you…This is the reason for so much bitterness, shortness of temper and recrimination in our daily family lives. We get back a reflection from our loved objects that is less than the grandeur and perfection that we need to nourish ourselves. We feel diminished by their human shortcomings. Our interiors feel empty or anguished, our lives valueless, when we see the inevitable pettinesses of the world expressed through the human beings in it. For this reason, too, we often attack loved ones and try to bring them down to size. We see that our gods have clay feet, and so we must hack away at them in order to save ourselves, to deflate the unreal over-investment that we have made in them…After all, what is it that we want when we elevate the love partner to the position of God? We want redemption—nothing less. We want to be rid of our faults, of our feeling of nothingness. We want to be justified, to know that our creation has not been in vain. We turn to the love partner for the experience of the heroic, for perfect validation; we expect them to ‘make us good’ through love. Needless to say, human partners can’t do this. The lover does not dispense cosmic heroism; he cannot give absolution in his own name…Redemption can only come from outside the individual.” (Ernest Becker, The Denial of Death, pp. 160-70)

Monday, January 04, 2010

Week One: Monday- An Immigrants Courage (Tim Keller)

RPC-An_Immigrants_Courage.mp3
(To download, right click and "save as".)

Ruth is a story of redeemers. Ruth teaches us that friendships can change the world (as with Boaz, the kinsman-redeemer), and that we can and must reach across spiritual and cultural barriers to do so (as with Ruth, the hidden redeemer). Both Boaz and Ruth point to Jesus, our true Redeemer. Once we realize that, we can ourselves reach across barriers to engage in spiritual friendships and be true disciples of Jesus.A beautiful sermon on the three redeemers found in the story of the Ruth and Boaz. Tim does a fantastic job of telling the story of Ruth as well as showing us how the story points to Jesus Christ and to the way the Gospel relates to us in everyday life.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Top 30 Films of the 2000's

Here are my top Films of the decade. These are films that I have watched and loved because of there ability to capture life, love, truth, beauty, justice and the longing for life ever-after.
  1. Gladiator (2000)
  2. Family Man (2000)
  3. I am Sam (2001)
  4. A Beautiful Mind (2001)
  5. Donnie Darko (2001)
  6. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
  7. In America (2002)
  8. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)
  9. My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002)
  10. Finding Nemo (2003)
  11. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)
  12. Hotel Rwanda (2004)
  13. Crash (2004)
  14. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
  15. Million Dollar Baby (2004)
  16. Garden State (2004)
  17. First Fifty Dates (2004)
  18. Napolean Dynomite (2004)
  19. The Notebook (2004)
  20. The World’s Fastest Indian (2005)
  21. The Devil Wears Prada (2006)
  22. Blood Diamond (2006)
  23. No Country for Old Men (2007)
  24. There will Be Blood (2007)
  25. Juno (2007)
  26. 3:10 to Yuma (2007)
  27. Grand Torino (2008)
  28. Wall E (2008)
  29. Slumdog Millionare (2008)
  30. Up (2009)

Friday, January 01, 2010

Daily Devotions, Spiritual Disciplines, and Your 10,000 hours to achieve greatness

I have been reading and listening to great sermons almost daily for the past twenty years. It started for me in college. I read volumes of Jonathan Edwards, Martyn Lloyd Jones, John Stott, and JI Packer sermons. Then, I began listening to Tim Keller, and Later William Willimon, Peter Marshall, John Piper and more recently, Rob Bell.

In 2009, Mark Driscoll and Tim Keller comprised the majority of my listening. Presently, I listen to at least three sermons from Tim Keller each week with about 700 audio sermons in my itunes library.

If you are interested in developing spiritually in 2010, consider listening to sermons. You might listen to one a day in the car on the way to work, while you exercise, or during a morning quiet time.

If you are a pastor and want to become a great preacher, I would implore you to devour as much great preaching as possible. Malcom Gladwell, in his book, Outliers, points out that great men and women, from hockey players to violinists to computer hackers, spent 10,000 doing their craft before they could become great. One way to gain a huge edge and develop both your craft and your heart is to hear great preaching.

The following sermons are free and represent, the men that I believe, are the top five preachers alive today: