One more quote from Keller

Quoting Richard Lovelace (p 54),

“People who are no longer sure that God loves and accepts them in Jesus, apart from their present spiritual achievements, are subconsciously radically insecure persons…  Their insecurity shows itself in pride, a fierce, defensive assertion of their own righteousness, and defensive criticism of others.  They come naturally to hate other cultural styles and other races in order to bolster their own security and discharge their suppressed anger.”

Sermon prep – The Two Lost Sons

I’m getting ready for this Sunday’s sermon by reading Tim Keller’s book, The Prodigal God. It was terrific, and I won’t try to summarize it here, except to include a few quotes that won’t make the sermon on Sunday:

– Summarizing Martin Luther: “Religion (rather than the gospel) is the default mode of the human heart.”

– Hymn from Newton about the way the gospel breeds good works:

Our pleasure and our duty,

though opposite before,

since we have seen his beauty

are joined to part no more.

I Am Second

Have you guys seen  It’s a series of videos of athletes, celebrities, and “normal” people telling the story of why Christ is first in their life.  The production quality is unusually high for Christian videos, though the website is starting to show signs of content overload as it attempts to help people move on to next steps.

Thanks, whomever is behind this campaign, for your efforts for the kingdom.

Watching Renewing Grace

It’s been really fun to be here during the week and see how Renewing Grace has come together. Dylan (who is a Luddite and will never see this), Brian, Sean, Tait… they’ve all done a great job.

At the end of the day, it’s just a box that sits out in the rain and rots. It won’t be here in 1000 years. It’s not a church. But what is exciting about the rotting box is that it represents the fact that the church (ie, the people) are committed to reaching this community for another generation. Christ will build his church. I want to be a part of that.

New Year, Old Longings

I told Becca that I wanted to send our New Years cards that had a picture of us practicing all our possible New Year’s Resolutions at once.  We never got around to taking the picture, but here’s the list of resolutions that I’ve been mulling around in my mind:

1. Drink more water (easy, unaccountable, good place to start).

2. Go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day, 10 pm and 7 am.

3. Give up soda (he types with a 44 oz Diet Coke on the coaster nearby).

4. Finish sermons before leaving work on Friday.

5. Play basketball every week.

6. Read the complete NT in Greek this year.

7. Match last year’s weight loss again this year (Easter 2009 – 265 lbs; Currently – 245 lbs)

8. Read more significant books and less insignificant blogs.

9. Fast weekly.

10. Express my passions more and daydream less.

I use the non-committal “musings” because I’m hesitant to call these “goals.”  More like good intentions.

Ending “The Faith” series

Thanks for trying out this idea of an online Sunday school class.  It didn’t work out how I’d hoped, but that’s okay.  Since there have been very few hits here in the past few weeks, and because I’m not really enthusiastic about continuing forward with the book myself, I’m going to call it quits on this series.

Also, I’m going to focus my blogging (such as it is) on

Thanks for trying this out together with me.

– Bob

“The Faith,” Chapter 5

This has been my favorite chapter so far.  The belief that humans are “basically good” was one I held for most of my Christian life, unwittingly siding with culture against the Bible.  I’ll hold on to this chapter to recommend to others in the future.

Summary: The root cause of human pain is sin, a chosen human response to free will. Attempts to mitigate our responsibility for sin only perpetuate destructive behavior.  Colson draws heavily on his own experiences with prisoners in showing the reality of objective sinfulness.

When I nodded my head:

“The most terrifying truth I have discovered in life is the banality of evil; the most ordinary people are capable of the most horrific sin; it is in us all.” (p. 76)

When I furrowed my brow:

Not really furrow-inducing, but there were a few times when I felt a generational disconnect with Colson.  Which, I suppose, comes from us being 50 years apart in age.

Favorite quote:

“We certainly want the blessings of free will, even if we don’t like teh consequences of our evil choices, which we often perversely blame God for.  But of course we can’t have it both ways.” (p. 74)

“The Faith” – Chapter 4

(Sorry for the absence – I took a week off for vacation. Back to our regularly scheduled blogging).
Summary – Colson makes the case for absolute truth, a debate which he sees as the fault line in Western culture today.  The absence of the potential for absolute truth erodes the gospel, confidence in Scripture, and ethics.

When I nodded my head: Even though our culture argues for relative truth, there is a repressed reality that comes out when the argument for truth is properly articulated. Colson uses the example of young adults who don’t like moral absolutes in theory, but can’t stomach the possibility of certain actions (pushing an old lady into traffic, torturing a baby, etc.) as morally neutral.

When I furrowed my brow: While I agreed with much of Colson’s critique of the emergent community (and certainly appreciated his openness to emerging forms of worship), I thought suggesting that emergent leaders could quickly become “cult leaders” (p. 63) came out of nowhere.

(Quick aside: If you’re interested in getting more into what the “emerging church” is (and I don’t necessarily recommend that you do), here‘s a helpful article from Christianity Today to understand the who’s, what’s, and why’s of the whole thing.)

Favorite quote: “When given thirteen basic teachings from the Bible, only 1 percent of adult believers agreed with or accepted all thirteen… This is why Barna describes this as “an age of spiritual anarchy… [while the] church is rotting from the inside out, crippled by abiblical theology.” (p. 66)

What caused you to nod your head when you read this chapter?  What caused you to furrow your brow?