Monday, October 31, 2005

Marriage Part 1

With the Minnesota Pastor's Conference coming up November 10th, I thought I'd post a few things on marriage. It's pretty relevant to my life as well, as I am getting married in 60!!! days. The following is taken from Logos Bible Software (I have the Scholar's Library). I found this background info to be quite interesting.


Marriage is the state in which men and women can live together in sexual relationship with the approval of their social group. Adultery and fornication are sexual relationships that society does not recognize as constituting marriage. This definition is necessary to show that in the OT polygamy is not sexually immoral, since it constitutes a recognized married state; though it is generally shown to be inexpedient.

The status of marriage
Marriage is regarded as normal, and there is no word for ‘bachelor’ in the OT. The record of the creation of Eve (Gn. 2:18–24) indicates the unique relationship of husband and wife, and serves as a picture of the relationship between God and his people (Je. 3; Ezk. 16; Ho. 1–3) and between Christ and his church (Eph. 5:22–33). Jeremiah’s call to remain unmarried (Je. 16:2) is a unique prophetic sign, but in the NT it is recognized that for specific purposes celibacy can be God’s call to Christians (Mt. 19:10–12; 1 Cor. 7:7–9), although marriage and family life are the normal calling (Jn. 2:1–11; Eph. 5:22–6:4; 1 Tim. 3:2; 4:3; 5:14).

Monogamy is implicit in the story of Adam and Eve, since God created only one wife for Adam. Yet polygamy is adopted from the time of Lamech (Gn. 4:19), and is not forbidden in Scripture. It would seem that God left it to man to discover by experience that his original institution of monogamy was the proper relationship. It is shown that polygamy brings trouble, and often results in sin, e.g. Abraham (Gn. 21); Gideon (Jdg. 8:29–9:57); David (2 Sa. 11; 13); Solomon (1 Ki. 11:1–8). In view of oriental customs Heb. kings are warned against it (Dt. 17:17). Family jealousies arise from it, as with Elkanah’s two wives, one of whom is an adversary to the other (1 Sa. 1:6; cf. Lv. 18:18). It is difficult to know how far polygamy was practised, but on economic grounds it is probable that it was found more among the well-to-do than among the ordinary people. Herod the Great had nine wives at one time (Jos., Ant. 17.19). Polygamy continues to the present day among Jews in Muslim countries.

When polygamy was practised the status and relationship of the wives can be gathered both from the narratives and the law. It was natural that the husband would be drawn to one rather than another. Thus Jacob, who was tricked into polygamy, loved Rachel more than Leah (Gn. 29). Elkanah preferred Hannah in spite of her childlessness (1 Sa. 1:1–8). In Dt. 21:15–17 it is admitted that the husband may love one wife and hate the other.

Since children were important to carry on the family name, a childless wife might allow her husband to have children by her slave. This was legal in civilized Mesopotamia (e.g. the Code of Hammurapi, §§ 144–147), and was practised by Sarah and Abraham (Gn. 16) and Rachel and Jacob (Gn. 30:1–8), though Jacob went farther and accepted Leah’s maid also, even though Leah had already borne him children (Gn. 30:9). In these cases the rights of the wife are safe-guarded; it is she who gives her maid to her husband for a specific occasion. It is difficult to give a name to the status of the maid in such a relationship; she is a secondary, rather than a second, wife, though, if the husband continued to have relations with her, she would have the position of concubine. This is perhaps why Bilhah is called Jacob’s concubine in Gn. 35:22, while Hagar is not classed with Abraham’s concubines in Gn. 25:6.

Wives would normally be chosen from among the Hebrews (e.g. Ne. 13:23–28). Betrothal and marriage would then follow a normal pattern (see below). Sometimes they were bought as Heb. slaves (Ex. 21:7–11; Ne. 5:5). It is commonly asserted that the master of a household had sexual rights over all his female slaves. No doubt there were flagrant examples of such promiscuity, but the Bible says nothing about them. It is noteworthy that Ex. 21:7–11 and Dt. 15:12 distinguish between an ordinary female slave, who is to be released after 7 years, and one who has been deliberately taken as a wife, or concubine, and who cannot claim her release automatically. Since her rights are here established by law, the head of the house or his son must have gone through some ceremony, however simple, of which the law can take cognizance. In speaking of her rights this passage does not make them depend upon her word against the word of the head of the house, nor even upon her having borne him or his son a child. It is difficult to say what her status was. No doubt it varied according to whether she was the first, second, or only ‘wife’ of the householder. Where she was given to the son of the house, she might well have full status as his wife. The fact is that this law, as the context shows, deals with her rights as a slave and not primarily as a wife.

Wives might also be taken from among captives after a war, provided that they were not Palestinians (Dt. 20:14–18). Some writers regard these captives as concubines, but the regulations of Dt. 21:10–14 regard them as normal wives.
There is no law dealing with concubines, and we do not know what rights they had. Obviously they had an inferior position to the wives, but their children could inherit at their father’s discretion (Gn. 25:6). Judges records the rise to power of Abimelech, the son of Gideon’s concubine (Jdg. 8:31–9:57), and also tells the tragic story of the Levite and his concubine (Jdg. 19). The impression given by 19:2–4 is that this concubine was free to leave her ‘husband’, and that the man relied on persuasion to bring her home. David and Solomon copied oriental monarchs in taking many wives and concubines (2 Sa. 5:13; 1 Ki. 11:3; Ct. 6:8–9). In the last two passages it seems that the concubines were drawn from a lower class of the population.
In normal marriages the wife came to the husband’s home. There is, however, another form of marriage in Jdg. 14–15. This is practised among the Philistines, and there is no record of it among the Israelites. Here Samson’s wife remains at her father’s home, and Samson visits her. It might be argued that Samson had intended to take her home after the wedding, but went off alone in a rage after the trick that she had played on him. Yet she is still at her father’s house in 15:1, even though in the meantime she has been married to a Philistine.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Another one of my favorite hymns - Beautiful Savior...

Words: Written by Ger­man Je­su­its as Schön­ster Herr Je­su in the 17th Cen­tu­ry. Pub­lished in the Mün­ster Ge­sang­buch, 1677, and trans­lat­ed from Ger­man to Eng­lish by Jo­seph A. Seiss, 1873.

Music: “Crusader’s Hymn,” Si­le­sian folk song from Schles­ische Volks­lied­er, 1842; ar­ranged by Ri­chard S. Will­is, 1850

Beautiful Savior, King of Creation
Son of God and Son of Man!
Truly I’d love Thee, truly I’d serve Thee,
Light of my soul, my joy, my crown.

Fair are the meadows, Fair are the woodlands,
Robed in the flowers of blooming spring;
Jesus is fairer, Jesus is purer,
He makes our sorrowing spirit sing.

Fair is the sunshine, Fair is the moonlight,
Bright the sparkling stars on high;
Jesus shines brighter, Jesus shines purer
Than all the angels in the sky.

Beautiful Savior, Lord of the nations,
Son of God and Son of Man!
Glory and honor, Praise, adoration
Now and forevermore be Thine!

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Free Enneagram Test...

Free Enneagram Test

The Riso-Hudson Enneagram Type Indicator (RHETI) Sampler is a free Enneagram test that serves as an introduction to the complete Riso-Hudson Enneagram Type Indicator (RHETI Version 2.5) which you can take online for $10 US.

The 36 questions in this free Enneagram test are only a small portion of the full, independently scientifically validated 144-question RHETI personality inventory, which Time magazine selected as one of the top online personality tests. Short personality quizzes such as this cannot guarantee that your basic personality type will be indicated, although your type will most likely be in the top three scores in this personality test. We recommend that you read the summary descriptions of the Enneagram types to further narrow down which is your basic personality type. Much more thorough descriptions of the types are provided with the full RHETI Enneagram test.


My results from the free test are shown below. They seem to be pretty accurate, considering I have only taken the 36 question test. Some time down the road I might utilize the longer test, but not now. I'm more convinced by the results of the StrengthsFinder test and it's results, but this doesn't seem to be a bad additional tool.


Type 1 Type 2 Type 3 Type 4 Type 5 Type 6 Type 7 Type 8 Type 9










In The Thinking Triad

Type Seven
The Enthusiast: The Functions of Spontaneity and Diverse Activity— The potential for enthusiasm, productivity, achievement, skill acquisition, and the desire for change and variety. Negatively, the potential for hyperactivity, superficiality, impulsiveness, excessiveness, and escapism.

In The Instinctive Triad

Type Eight
The Challenger: The Functions of Self-Assertion and Leadership— The potential for self-confidence, self-determination, self-reliance, magnanimity, and the ability to take personal initiative. Negatively, the potential for domination of others, crude insensitivity, combativeness, and ruthlessness.

Friday, October 28, 2005

For amusement purposes only - Men's rules

(HT: David Wayne)

At last a guy has taken the time to write this all down Finally, the guys’ side of the story. We always hear “the rules” from the female side. Now here are the rules from the male side. These are our rules!

Please note.. . these are all numbered “1″ ON PURPOSE!

1. Men are not mind readers.

1. Learn to work the toilet seat. You’re a big girl. If it’s up, put it down. We need it up, you need it down. You don’t hear us complaining about you leaving it down.

1. Sunday sports. It’s like the full moon or the changing of the tides. Let it be.

1. Shopping is NOT a sport. And no, we are never going to think of it that way.

1. Crying is blackmail.

1. Ask for what you want. Let us be clear on this one: Subtle hints do not work! Strong hints do not work! Obvious hints do not work! Just say it!

1. “Yes” and “No” are perfectly acceptable answers to almost every question.

1. Come to us with a problem only If you want help solving it. That’s what we do. Sympathy is what your girlfriends are for.

1. A headache that lasts for 17 months is a problem. See a doctor.

1. Anything we said 6 months ago is inadmissible in an argument. In fact, all comments become null and void after 7 days.

1. If you won’t dress like the Victoria’s Secret girls, don’t expect us to act like soap opera guys.

1. If something we said can be interpreted two ways and one of the ways makes you sad or angry, we meant the other one.

1. You can either ask us to do something Or tell us how you want it done. Not both. If you already know best how to do it, just do it yourself.

1. Whenever possible, please say whatever you have to say during commercials.

1. Christopher Columbus did not need directions and neither do we.

1. ALL men see in only 16 colors, like Windows default settings. Peach, for example, is a fruit, not a color. Pumpkin is also a fruit. We have no idea what mauve is.

1. If it itches, it will be scratched. We do that.

1. If we ask what is wrong and you say “nothing,” we will act like nothing’s wrong. We know you are lying, but it is just not worth the hassle.

1. If you ask a question you don’t want an answer to, expect an answer you don’t want to hear.

1. When we have to go somewhere, absolutely anything you wear is fine…really.

1. Don’t ask us what we’re thinking about unless you are prepared to discuss such topics as baseball, the shotgun formation, or golf.

1. You have enough clothes.

1. You have too many shoes.

1. I am in shape. Round IS a shape!

Thank you for reading this. Yes, I know, I have to sleep on the couch tonight; but did you know men really don’t mind that? It’s like camping.

Now if you have been offended or taken issue with any of the above you need to reset your humor meter. (or humour meter... :-)

Thursday, October 27, 2005


Is God the Author of Evil? (Isaiah 45:7)
The assertion in this passage is so bold that Marcion, an early Christian heretic, used this text to prove that the God of the Old Testament was a different being from the God of the New. Thus the nature of this hard saying is simply this: Is God the author of evil?
Numerous texts flatly declare that God is not, and could not be, the author of evil. For example, Deuteronomy 32:4 declares that “his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. [He is] a faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he.” Similarly, Psalm 5:4 notes, “You are not a God who takes pleasure in evil.” If we read the Bible in its total canonical setting, it would seem that God is without evil or any pretense of evil.
The text in question refers to physical evil. As does Lamentations 3:38, it contrasts prosperity and adversity. Thus the good is physical goodness and happiness, while the evil is physical distress, misfortune, calamity and natural evil, such as storms, earthquakes and other disasters.
Even though much of the physical evil often comes through the hand of wicked men and women, ultimately God permits it. Thus, according to the Hebrew way of speaking, which ignores secondary causation in a way Western thought would never do, whatever God permits may be directly attributed to him, often without noting that secondary and sinful parties were the immediate causes of the disaster.
The evil spoken of in this text and similar passages (such as Jer 18:11; Lam 3:38 and Amos 3:6) refers to natural evil and not moral evil. Natural evil is seen in a volcanic eruption, plague, earthquake and destructive fire. It is God who must allow (and that is the proper term) these calamities to come. But, one could ask, isn’t a God who allows natural disasters thereby morally evil?
To pose the question in this manner is to ask for the origins of evil. Christianity has more than answered the problem of the presence of evil (for that is the whole message of the cross) and the problem of the outcome of evil (for Christ’s resurrection demonstrates that God can beat out even the last enemy and greatest evil, death itself). But Christianity’s most difficult question is the origin of evil. Why did God ever allow “that stuff” in the first place?
Augustine taught that evil is not a substance. It is, as it were, a byproduct of our freedom, and especially of our sin. The effects of that sin did not fall solely on the world of humans. Its debilitating effects hit the whole natural world as well. Nevertheless, it is not as if God can do nothing or that he is just as surprised as we are by natural evil. Any disaster must fall within the sovereign will of God, even though God is not the sponsor or author of that evil. When we attempt to harmonize these statements we begin to invade the realms of divine mystery.
What we can be sure of, however, is the fact that God is never, ever, the originator and author of evil. It would be contrary to his whole nature and being as consistently revealed in Scripture.
Kaiser, W. C. 1997, c1996. Hard sayings of the Bible . InterVarsity: Downers Grove, Il

Calamities Come from God? (Lamentations 3:38-39)
This text involves the problem of evil being linked with God as its sponsor or author. Judah faced the destruction of every clear evidence it had ever had that God’s promise to the patriarchs and David was valid. Jerusalem and God’s own dwelling place, the temple, had been destroyed. Was not God the author of these events?
An alphabetic acrostic (a means of presenting ideas by beginning each line or group of lines with successive letters of the alphabet) marks Lamentations 3:37–39 as the strophe unit (that is to say, poetic paragraph) in which this hard saying occurs.
The preceding strophe, Lamentations 3:34–36, forms one long sentence. Each of its three members opens with an infinitive that depends on the main verb, which comes last, in verse 36. Thus the sentence asks the question, Has not the Lord seen the three injustices mentioned in the three infinitives? Indeed, he had! He knew about the cruel treatment of war prisoners (Lam 3:34), the disregard of basic human rights (Lam 3:35) and the malpractice in the halls of justice (Lam 3:36).
Abuse of prisoners outrages God, as we are also told in Psalms 68:6, 69:33 and 107:10–16. Likewise, God is offended when a person receives no justice in the halls of government (Ex 23:6; Deut 16:19; 24:17; Prov 17:23; 18:5). God never approves of such distortions, and he has noted the sources of our grief (Lam 3:36). This is the context of the strophe in Lamentations 3:37–39. Whatever successes evil persons may have are only temporarily permitted by God for his wise purposes.
Lamentations 3:37 appears to have Psalm 33:9 in mind: “He spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm.” Everything must be permitted by the hand of God. However, woe betide the individual, the institution or the group by which evil comes! Though God may permit temporary success of such evil and even use it for his glory, that does not negate the responsibility of wicked people for what they do and how they do it.
Accordingly, God used Assyria as the rod of his anger against Israel (Is 10), as he later used the Babylonians to chastise Judah (Hab 1–2), but he also heaped harsh words on both these foreign nations for the way they did the task. God judged them with a series of woes (see, for example, the end of Hab 2).
Note that Lamentations 3:38 does not contrast moral good and evil but calamity and good. Furthermore, it does not ascribe these calamities directly to God but says that they cannot occur without God’s permission. Those claiming that this is unfair should look at Lamentations 3:39, “Why should any living man complain when punished for his sins?” As the theme of this section declares, “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail” (Lam 3:22). Thus, the Israelites’ very existence bore evidence that God still cared for them.
God, however, is angry with mortals for their sin. This whole question of divine anger has been sharply debated over the centuries. It became known as the debate over divine passibility (the quality or aptness in God to feel, suffer or be angry).
Marcion, a second-century Gnostic heretic, demanded that his God be impassible, incapable of taking offense, never angry, entirely apathetic and free of all affections. Though the early church expelled Marcion and anathematized his doctrines in a.d. 144, the struggle continued over whether God could be angered by sin and unrighteousness.
The cause of anger, according to Aristotle, is our desire to avenge harm done to us. Thus anger came to have a connotation of a “brief madness” and lack of self-control. This definition did not fit our Lord’s anger or any righteous anger, and it was rejected by the church.
Late in the third Christian century the church father Lactantius wrote a classic book entitled De Ira Dei, “The Anger of God.” For Lactantius, emotions and passions were not inherently evil if they were controlled. But it was evil for someone to be in the presence of evil and not to dislike it or be angered by it. To love the good was by definition to hate the evil. Contrariwise, not to hate the evil was not to love the good.
That is why we affirm that God’s anger is never explosive, unreasonable or unexplainable. It is, instead, a firm expression of displeasure with all wickedness and sin. In God, anger is never a ruling force or passion; it is merely the instrument of his will—an instrument he handles with deftness and care. But however he may use his anger to punish or teach, he will never shut off his compassion from us (Ps 77:9).
Kaiser, W. C. 1997, c1996. Hard sayings of the Bible . InterVarsity: Downers Grove, Il

Good News - Eagle Brook Church and Tony Campolo follow up...

Earlier today I received an email from the Senior Pastor (Bob Merritt) of Eagle Brook Church in response to my concerns about their bringing in Tony Campolo for a Men's Ministry event. While I won't post the email here, it was enormously encouraging. Bob expressed some similar concerns about having to watch Dr. Campolo closely, and giving him a small box from which to work/speak from. Eagle Brook Church is a great church, and knowing that the leadership of the church takes things like this seriously is very encouraging to me. They are a church approaching 6000+ in weekly attendance, in 7 different services. They are in the process of building an entire new church campus, and I really think they have some fantastic ministries. Knowing they hear the voices of concern, and they share the concerns tells me they haven't grown too big to care. Certainly I have/had a relationship with the Senior Pastor that many in this congregation cannot have, but to know he heard my concerns, shared and validated my concerns says a great deal about this church and their staff. Kudos to Bob Merritt for hearing my concerns, and for dealing with this head on. Bob has asked that I pray for him and his team as they deal with this, and I ask that you too would join me in praying for this ministry team and church.

On that note, a word for all who read this. If you have concerns similar to the ones I expressed here in my blog about a church you care about, talk to those in leadership in that church. It would be one thing for me to simply complain about Eagle Brook Church, and leave it at that. I don't think that is proper. I went to my brother and expressed my concern.

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Tuesday, October 25, 2005

C.J. and Carolyn Mahaney audio files...

(HT: Justin Taylor)

C.J. and Carolyn Mahaney were recently the guest speakers at the Men's and Women's 2005 Fall Conference at The Bible Church of Little Rock (pastored by Lance Quinn). The MP3s of their ten sessions are available for free on the web:

C.J. Mahaney
Sex, Romance and the Glory of God - Part 1 (MP3)
Sex, Romance and the Glory of God - Part 2 (MP3)
Message to Men (MP3)
Humility: True Greatness (MP3)
The Cross Centered Life (MP3)
The Soul of Modesty (MP3)

Carolyn Mahaney
Message to Women: What Christian Wives Need to Know (MP3)
True Beauty (MP3)
A Woman's Beauty Regimen (MP3)
What To Do About the Things We Can't Do Anything About (MP3)

Also of interest: Challies reviews CJ's new book.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Plans for Cancun honeymoon and the impact of Hurricane Wilma...

I get married December 30th, 2005, and we have our honeymoon planned immediately there after. Six months ago I planned it all out, bought plane tickets and everything. We are staying at the Imperial Fiesta Club in Cancun, Mexico, January 1-8th 2006. With Hurricane Wilma deciding to punish the Yucatan Peninsula this week, I am not sure how the recovery efforts will go, and what damage may have occured to our particular hotel. I've heard reports of up to 60 inches of rain in this region. I'm not sure I've ever lived through 60 inches of rain in a single year! I expect in a couple of weeks to contact the Imperial Fiesta Club to see if everything is OK with our plans for January. We'll be flying ATA round trip. This will be my first American Trans Air flight, so we'll see how they fare.

The other part of this association I have with Wilma is that my fiancee's parents sold their condo in Naples, Florida, just one year ago. They were part of Fiddler's Creek Condo's, which are actually South of Naples, closer to Marco Island than to Naples. Marco Island has fantatic beaches if you are in that area. It is my understanding that Marco Island didn't get storm surged, as the wind was blowing West (North side of Hurricane) when it hit this region. The Everglades however, weren't as lucky, with reports of the surge going into the Glades as far as 20 miles.



I heard late last night (10/24) that the back side of the storm did bring some storm swell to Marco Island and the surround areas. Still nothing like it could have been with 15 foot surges, or if the storm had been moving more slowly. Something like 3 million people still without power this morning. From what I have seen/heard Miami was pounded much harder than they had expected. I've heard estimates of $8-10 BILLION in damages to South Florida. Those insurance premiums have to be brutal for the people living in that region.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Joel Osteen and Anthony Robbins - Twins?

Go here and read a great comparison between infomercial star Anthony "Tony" Robbins and pastor Joel Osteen.


The comparison between the two "daily devotionals" shown above, is not the end of the similarities between these men. Whether the similarities are intentional or not, they may give us a clue as to how "numeric-success" is often achieved in the modern church. It may be that it's achieved by looking and sounding like the world's formula for self-empowerment and self-esteem.

As you consider their books and quotes below, keep in mind that Robbins is NOT attempting to speak a Christian message at all; his is a secular "personal success" message. Though the words are not identical, their "power within" theme is a striking commonality. Judge for yourself whether any of the quotes that you see below (from either man) can be substantiated biblically.

(HT: Reformation 21)

Minnesota Pastors' Summit - Minnestoa for Marriage


To encourage, equip, and provide tools for pastors who want to take the next step in shepherding their churches to be a greater influence in culture.

I will walk about in freedom, for I have sought out your precepts. I will speak of your statutes before kings and will not be put to shame, for I delight in your commands because I love them. I lift up my hands to your commands, which I love, and I meditate on your decrees. ~Psalm 119:45-48 NIV

Thursday, November 10, 2005, 8:30 - 5:00 pm

Grace Church Eden Prairie, 9301 Eden Prairie Road, Eden Prairie, MN 55347
For map and directions, go to

Click here to learn more about the Pastors' Summit

Minnesota Pastors' Summit - Speakers

David Barton • Founder of Wallbuilders
Author and historian David Barton is the Founder and President of WallBuilders, a national pro-family organization that distributes historical, legal, and statistical information and helps citizens become active in their local schools and communities.

Bishop Frederick Henry • Calgary, AB, Canada
As the Bishop of Calgary, Bishop Henry will share the realities of legalizing same-sex marriage in Canada and insights into what it will mean in the United States.

H.B. London, Jr. • Vice President, Ministry Outreach & Pastoral Ministries for Focus on the Family. H.B.’s focus is to serve as liaison to pastors and churches—a kind of “pastor to pastors.”

Colby May • Senior Counsel American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ)
Colby M. May is Senior Counsel and Director of the Washington Office of the ACLJ. May represents members of the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate on legislative initiatives involving national security, abortion, marriage, and pornography. With the ACLJ since 1994, May specializes in federal litigation, regulatory proceedings, communications and technology, non-profit tax issues, and First Amendment law.

Dr. William (Bill) Owens • President and Founder of Coalition of African-American Pastors (CAAP)
Dr. Owens, and CAAP strive to transcend racial, denominational and social barriers in support of Biblical principles. He serves as Co-Chair of the prestigious Arlington Group (dedicated to the advancement of the National Marriage Amendment).

Pastor Joe Wright • Central Christian Church and Pastor Terry Fox • Emmanuel Baptist Church
Both pastors of churches in Wichita, KS, Joe and Terry will share their story of how the Church united to preserve moral values across the state.

Minnesota Pastors' Summit - Breakout Topics

The Battle in Kansas
Pastors Joe Wright and Terry Fox will share how the body of Christ was united in Kansas to affect the culture.

Marriage Savers®
Founded in 1996, Marriage Savers is a ministry that equips local communities, principally through local congregations, to help men and women to prepare for lifelong marriages, strengthen existing marriages, and restore troubled marriages.

Tax Status and Free Speech
Experts from the American Center for Law and Justice will provide legal advice for Churches on what they can, and cannot do from the pulpit and within the Church body.

Culture Shakers
Gaining the tools and knowledge to activate your congregation and community.

Current Climate
An overview of church and state relations regarding family issues in Minnesota and an question and answer forum with representatives from Minnesota’s major political parties. Facilitated by Tom Prichard, President of MFC.

“Our Town” Ministry Tools
Building bridges for urban ministry partnerships and gaining insight for ministry responses to inner city and family issues.

The Truth of the Homosexual Lifestyle
Becoming equipped and prepared to reach out and minister to those walking the homosexual lifestyle. Powerful testimonies will be shared.

Prepared and Paid for by Minnesota for Marriage, 2855 Anthony Lane S, Suite 150, Minneapolis, MN 554181-877-MN-MARRY

Just for fun - What book of the Bible are you?

You are Ephesians
You are Ephesians.

Which book of the Bible are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Friday, October 21, 2005

Tony Campolo's false teachings and Eagle Brook Church...

The other day I received an email from Eagle Brook Church touting an event for their men's ministry in November where they are bringing in Dr. Tony Campolo. Below is the body of the email I sent in response to it. Just Google with key words Campolo Bad Theology.


Eagle Brook staff,
I wouldn't normal address this, but it is of large enough concern for me that it's been on my mind for a few days now.

I also know you probably don't care specifically about my opinion, but hopefully you will at least share my concerns. Tony Campolo has repeatedly expressed beliefs that fall outside the boundaries of orthodoxy. He has made clear his belief in the openness of God ala Clark Pinnock - that God does not know the future, and that God is reacting to our actions, and not in control. It is disappointing that the leadership of Eagle Brook Church is buying into the popularity of Campolo's name and sacrificing discernment in the process. I am not some radical fundamentalist (ask Bob Merritt (senior Pastor), I was his teaching assistant at Bethel Seminary for 2 years), just a concerned person who expects so much more from Eagle Brook Church and it's leadership. I have no doubt there will be lots of people excited about this event, probably even on your staff, but excitement does not make up for proper theology and good teaching. The event will go well, with few, if any picking up on the subtle differences in Campolo's theology, which is what makes it all the more important that the leadership team be aware of this. For reference, Dr. Albert Mohler addressed this very issue in regard to Tony Campolo's false teachings/bad theology a short time ago. You can find his concerns at:

There are many others out there that are very concerned about Campolo, I doubt most of them will say anything about it to you though. You may not be able to do anything about this event at this point, but I would hope you would at least give some thought to the issue, and set some boundaries for Dr. Campolo to avoid or mitigate his opportunities to spread his poor theology. Or you can just hit delete and dismiss my concern as a wingnut complaint. I know you are busy with your ministry, so thank you for your time, and thank you for your ministries, as I have great hope for the future of Eagle Brook Church.

_______________ (email from church below) ________________

Tony Campolo is coming to EBC for a special Infuse!
Tuesday, November 8 at 7 pm
Nationally-known speaker - worship that rocks - free dessert

Dr. Tony Campolo, a media commentator on religious, social and political issues, is coming soon to EBC! Campolo has been a guest on Nightline, Crossfire, Politically Incorrect, The Charlie Rose Show, CNN News, and more. He co-hosted his own television series, Hashing It Out, and currently hosts From Across The Pond, a weekly program on the Premier Radio Network in England. In addition to TV and radio, Campolo is the author of over 30 books-including his most recent titles: Which Jesus?, Speaking my Mind and The Church Enslaved.

This Special Event will include worship that really rocks, a great message and free dessert, so grab your friends and don't miss this night!

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Hurricane Wilma, Cancun and my honeymoon...

(AP Photo)

Briefly the most intense Atlantic hurricane on record, Wilma was a potentially catastrophic Category 5 storm before weakening. Its 150-mph winds made it more powerful than Hurricane Katrina when it plowed into the Gulf coast of the United States.

Tropical storm-force winds and rains were already hitting Cozumel by Thursday night. Hundreds of schools in the Yucatan were ordered closed, and many were turned into shelters. Airlines started canceling flights.

While hundreds left Cozumel, Mexican officials said about a thousand tourists stayed on the island, mainly at hotel ballrooms being used as shelters. About 20,000 tourists remained at shelters and hotels on the mainland south of Cancun, and an estimated 10,000 to 12,000 were in the city itself.


Eleven weeks from now I am expecting to be sitting on the beach in Cancun for my honeymoon. I know it's a resort area, and is probably better suited to recover than most of Mexico, but I do hope this one misses as much as possible, or at least hits more lightly than expected. Banana and I had dinner with the family of a college friend of her's last night, and then this morning Banana took them to the airport, where they flew to Orlando for the next 5 days. Just in time to get dumped on by Wilma. They've rented a car, and are planning on evacuating Saturday from Disney World to some where farther North if it looks like the storm is going to hit them. Their tickets were non-refundable, and American Airlines was completely unwilling to work with them. My experience with American Airlines is that they have the WORST customer service of all the air lines I have ever flown. So if you have a choice, fly Frontier, fly JetBlue, fly Soutwest, but avoid American Air if possible.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

4 Marks of a Transforming Church...

From Christianity Today online:

4 Marks of a Transforming Church
There's more to it than doing good deeds.

Our inner-city church in Indianapolis offered many ministries to the poor: a soup kitchen, a sports ministry, free Thanksgiving turkey dinners. A back-to-school program gave out shoes, coats, and book bags.

We were proud of our reputation as "the church that stayed" instead of fleeing to the suburbs. Nevertheless, something was wrong. None of our outreach programs was leading people to faith in Jesus Christ. Residents we touched were not entering into the life of the church. We remained an enclave for affluent, educated whites.

What was wrong? While wrestling with this question, I happened to read Luke 5, the story of Simon Peter, who spent all night fishing without catching any fish. As he sat frustrated on shore, Christ told him, "Put out into deeper water and let down your nets." I was struck by our church's similar situation. Where was the "deeper water" we needed to go? I identified four places.

1. Deeper relationships
Many of our outreach ministries were impersonal, treating people like clients rather than friends. For 12 years, for instance, we operated our soup kitchen as a take-out window. People lined up for bowls of soup but couldn't enter the building. The doors were locked. What message did that send?

So we unlocked the doors and invited people to eat inside the church. Some of our members began coming each day to sit and eat lunch with the guests. Before long, some of the neighborhood residents were helping out in the soup kitchen. One of our key volunteers, a retired professor of social work, told me: "All my life I taught classes about the poor. Now, they're my friends!"

2. Deeper invitations
Jesus calls us to fish, not to be ichthyologists. We weren't catching any fish.

For years our church had a recreation ministry where children learned to play football, basketball, and baseball. But we didn't try to share the gospel in a deliberate way. A leader of the community told me: "My son grew up playing sports at your church. He wanted to join the church, but no one ever invited him." If the goal is leading people to Christ and transformation, we'd missed it.

So we made changes. Leaders of the program committed themselves to evangelism and discipleship. We took a group of neighborhood kids to a summer camp run by the Fellowship of Christian Athletes where some made commitments to Christ. We prepared devotional materials for teams to use before practice. We began offering a midweek "huddle" time to disciple youngsters who had become Christians.

3. Deeper investments
It is not a bad thing to hand out Christmas baskets, but lifting people out of poverty requires deeper investment. Studying our neighborhood, we realized the greatest need was for education: many children near our church were illiterate. Unable to read or write, they soon dropped out of school and were lost to the street culture. Giving them book bags wasn't enough; they needed a school that would equip and protect them.

After much planning, we purchased an abandoned school building, and in 1998 the Oaks Academy opened its doors with 53 students. Enrollment has since grown to more than 220, with a student body racially and economically mixed. In recent years, the church has also started a medical clinic and Christian legal clinic, both requiring generous investments of money and talent.

4. Deeper faith
Our greatest need is for deeper faith—to believe what God wants to do. After the miraculous catch of fish, Peter fell before Jesus and exclaimed, "Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!" Peter was overwhelmed by Christ's power and presence.

As our church ventured into deeper waters, we witnessed that same power and presence. For the first time in our 150-year history, a significant number of African Americans began attending. Our staff—previously all white—became multiracial. Some of our members opened a Christian coffee shop in the neighborhood, and soon the Unleavened Bread Café became a gathering place for all sorts of people, from the district attorney to drug dealers. God exceeded our dreams.

Yes, before sailing into deeper waters, you need to count the cost. You'll exceed your comfort zone. We exposed deep undercurrents of fear, pride, and prejudice. Would we become a "black" church? Could we afford these new ministries? Would starting a Christian school hurt the public school system?

We faced resistance. And after five years, I resigned due to the persistent conflict. But I'm pleased with what we did. Moving into deeper water led to transformation for our church and for the neighborhood.

—Peter Larson is now pastor of Lebanon (Ohio) Presbyterian Church.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Minnesota Council for Biblical Leadership - Complimentarianism

Below are the meeting notes from the Minnesota Council for Biblical Leadership. This is an unofficial extension of The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW). I believe complimentarianism to be the Biblical model of what God has intended in His creation of man and woman.


MN Council for Biblical Leadership
Pastor’s Summit
October 13, 2005

Present: Irv W, Joe S, John H, Steve G, Jon P, Sam C, Garth W, Jack D, Alex K, Scott C, Nathan T, Andrew S, Quirin M, John D, Leo R, Chris M, Steve L, Mike R

Pastor Irv welcomed and introduced Joe S. of Fidellis Foundation.

He also introduced John Helmberger, CEO of MN Family Council. John gave an announcement regarding a Pastor’s Summit on November 10 at Grace Church, Eden Prairie in support of traditional marriage in MN. This will help equip pastors to encourage their congregations to get involved in the support of marriage, to come together with other pastors to have a common cause. It will also show the stand that the church is taking for the truth of the Bible.

Introductions around the table were given.

Topic for discussion: Complementarianism and its impact on Para church organizations, Christian Colleges and Seminaries.

Should we support through finances, promotion and manpower Para church organizations that do not take the complementary stand?

- No we should not support Para church orgs. that do not support our view. But more importantly we must find out why people that haven’t taken a stand aren’t taking one and we should be willing to share the truth of the scripture with them.
- What about InterVarsity Press? Or other org. that we use regularly?
- The truth of the scripture is clear, but the application of that is not as clear.
- There are many people that are doing a great harvest of righteousness but are not complementarian. Coming alongside them to share your heart for the truth and continuing relationships to influence could be key rather than cutting off funding and support.
- Determine what the Bible’s standards for heresy are and understand what egalitarianism is—is it heresy? It is important to think through how crucial this topic of Complementarianism is and what stance we should take on handling on the issue.
- It is ok to steward the funds that are in your hands and if you have a clear conscience about stopping funding due to beliefs, but what can we do to foster a right view in the issue? Can we do that by cutting ourselves off from others?
- Bethel University: Their stance as expressed publicly is that they are not ordaining; they are training people. As long as you fit in “the box” of their views they will train you. There is a range of views on just about every subject among the views of the faculty. There is hope and the key is hiring good professors.
- There is a difference between what is stated and what is permitted.

- There is a middle ground between financially supporting an org. and still maintaining a relationship.
- Schools may be hesitant to declare a stance at the risk of losing funding and students.
- Truth unites thought—scholarship is so vastly superior on our sides that it should be one of the primary points on our side. Because of this we should be able to make a stance because of our solid truth.
- By withholding funds we could marginalize ourselves and lose by default. We must argue for truth.
- There may be room for which response you choose to offer in your own good conscience.
- At some point we have to be willing to be marginalized rather than conform your views.
- There is a place for “Elijahs” and “Daniels.”

Would you support a young person that wanted to attend a fully vocal Egalitarian school?
- Advise the person to know what they are supporting and if they are comfortable with.
- With the money that we have, is it better to just give it to the school that you fully support rather than keep a “foot in the door” in order to maintain that relationship?
- You must allocate your money with a good conscience. If, by your support, you have an avenue to be heard use it…if it is not a place that you will be able to persuade, maybe it is better spent in complete support of the school/org that holds your same beliefs.
- Somewhere along the line there is a need to collate resources and get the message out there.

At some point if we are withholding funds, and withholding students, we must start something with the same beliefs.

When we have someone here like Wayne Grudem, wouldn’t it have been a great opportunity to have him or her engage in a discussion with someone for example from Bethel?
- How many people outside of the circle, have even heard the word Complementarianism and know what it really means? We need to engage the culture with this message.

How do you inculcate students with this position?
- It is important to live this view, get involved in your community and share your life with them.
- Preach the Bible and sound hermeneutics.
- Does the superiority of the Biblical scholarship carry an underlining view of the Bible. Is it held with authority?
- Understanding and reengaging in the supremacy of Christ and scripture is key to fully embracing this idea.
- The authority source needs to be established first and foremost.
- Our attitude is important when “teaching” on this topic so that people are open to listening to us.
- You can’t win the fight if you don’t have a dog in the fight. If we remove ourselves we will lose our influence.
- They will not receive our message until they receive us. It’s about the messenger as well as the message.
- Getting people to say they are Complementarianist is not even half the battle. The rest is getting them to truly understand and embrace what it really means. The teaching and the exhorting must never stop.
- Is this a topic you would feel comfortable preaching from the pulpit? Yes from Steve G. Honoring Jesus is the best option even if it offends.
- The influences of the church of far greater than the pulpit though. Life and culture shape people at an accelerated rate almost contrary to teaching. That is what lives on in life unfortunately, is what life and culture teach.
- Give away books to get the word out.
- Lots of folks don’t believe the Bible and if they do the do not understand.
- It’s a watershed issue. How do we shift the value to help people understand the importance of this issue?
- People have been culturing shaped and condition to write this topic off.

Pastor Steve G. encouraged the pastor’s to attend to Pastor’s Summit that John Helmberger highlighted earlier. Attend this because this issue is so important.

What are you doing with the information gained from these summits? Is there any change coming?
- Is there a way to have this in a different venue and invite people there to attend for example Bethel, NWC, Luther, etc. That way they could walk to it, get a free lunch and be a part of a discussion. This would be a possibility but it would have to be a commitment of those that are attending.
- In your mind what does that look like personally? In your own family and from there into ministry areas and then into the church. It is weaved through ministry.
- Seeking debate opportunities in “hostile” situations bringing awareness to the students and the being available to offer students answers and books.

Personal application: Irv has led the church in The Battle for Purity. Steve G. still has temptation but he has come to realize that some of the tenants of biblically based theology are huge influences of my mind when I stop to consider that this woman is created in the image of God and that marriage is the statement upon earth of God’s intimate relationship and soul and spirit of God. It is not good to mess with another man’s wife. The bride of Jesus does not belong to me just because I have a moment of attraction. The areas of purity and Complementarianism have weaved together very smoothly.

Quiring M. closed in prayer.

Monday, October 17, 2005

A little English help please...

R you're english skills leaving somethin to B desired? Check this out: Common Errors in English. Not quite Yak Shaving Razors material, but interesting/helpful in my opinion.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

I love Extreme Makeover: Home Edition...

It seems that nearly every week I am touched by Extreme Makeover: Home Edition at such a deep level that I am compelled to write about it. This week is no different, except perhaps the depth to which I was touched by the two epidode show tonight (Teas Family) goes beyond what it normally does to me. I'm a big tough man, but this show leaves me in tears almost weekly. I might even be addicted to this show, but I'm at peace with that.

In this epidode, the team works at a place called Camp Barnabas. Camp Barnabas is a non-denominational Christian summer camp where children with special needs experience an awesome, life-changing week of camp. The people who opened this camp quit their jobs, spent their life savings and retirements in pursuit of the dream of reaching special needs children and making them feel both normal and special, if even only for a week or two. An incredibly powerful ministry into the lives of those who attend camp, and those who work at this camp. The result of the dedication by the family that opened the camp was that they neglected their own dwelling. That's where the show enters in, but rather than doing just a single house as they do on most shows, they did 3 buildings. They also fixed some playground equipment areas to make them safer for the children. They built a 300 foot zip line and other things as well.

Rarely will you ever hear me suggest you watch television, but this show is a can't miss. Put it in your Palm Pilot. Get it into outlook. Write it on the back of your hand. It's worth your time. It will challenge you to examine how we can reach and impact the world, one family at a time. While the show is clearly secular, but it has enormous implications for the Church.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Hewlett Packard problems and the power of blogs...

Tony Morgan (One of the Simply Strategic Guys) has been blogging about his poor experience with Hewlett Packard's customer service. It seems that someone at HP picked up on his experience from his blog posts, and now they appear to be trying to remedy the poor service he got. I posted the below on his blog when he first explained his problems. I blogged about my initial problem here.


In September the power converter on my Compaq (owned by Hewlett Packard) laptop ate it big time. I called in, and after 3 service reps (all in India), I was finally given the proper department. I spelt my name military style - Charley Hugo Roger Ivan Steven (Chris) - after 7 or 8 attempts to get my name down so they could ship me the new part. 20 minutes later, we've got all the info tranferred. The next day (I too got rush) I check my tracking on the shipment, to find they butchered my address, and the package will never arrive because of that mistake. I call back to HP customer service. 45 minutes later, after 8 CSR's, I finally get someone who can help me. I was sent back and forth between two departments twice. So rep 9 (in Colorado I think) is finally able to say I can help you...I think. He has to get a manager (takes 7 more minutes) and they are finally able to change a simple item in Fed-Ex system so I can get my power cord. In all, the call lasted 62 minutes, I worked my way through 5 phone trees, talked to 9 people, for something that should have been a 25 second fix.


Tony brings out a good secondary point in his post today on the subject. He looks at it in light of how we treat people who come into our churches. It's vitally important to make a good first impression, but we need to back that up on subsequent interactions. If we do a poor job of service on people's second and third time visits, we will have wasted our initial efforts. While the church isn't in the "customer" service business, we can learn a lot from the people who are. This past Willow Creek Leadership Summit examined this effect by bringing in the president of Southwest Airlines - Colleen Barrett. In the church we have multiple levels of "customers" depending on our position. If you are a lead pastor, your staff and your leadership team are your first level "customers". And it carries on down the line depending on your position. Of course I am using the word cutomer in a very loose sense, as I am STRONGLY opposed to the consumer mentality some Christians take toward their spiritual lives and church involvement.

I should explain my full experience with HP so you get a better picture of my experience with them. I have a HP Printer/scanner/fax (v.40) that has worked flawlessly. It does use expensive ink cartridges, but they last a remarkably long time. No complaints at all about it. I would like a faster per page printing rate, but I sacrificed that for better print quality by buying this unit.

I have had good experiences with HP online tech support. Very informative, easy to work with, and friendly staff.

I have had very mixed experiences with my Compaq Presario R3000 Laptop (actually it's a 3030 I think). The place inside of the computer where the power cord enters broke a year and a half ago, after 4 or 5 months use. It was still under warrenty, so I called in and they told me what to do to send it in for repair. I boxed my computer up after archiving a few important files. Within 3 days, I had a repaired computer back in my hands. The turn around was faster than I could've imagined. But there were problems. First the hard drive was wiped clean. They re-installed Windows XP, but everything else was gone. Second, they didn't send my power cord back (I had sent it with the computer). The instructions never said to not send the cord, and figured they would need it to verify the computer was working. I have no idea who they farm out their repairs to, and if they have a cord to power my computer. So I called HP, and got a bit of a run around, but eventually they sent me a new power cord at no cost (I might have had to pay shipping). The new power cord I got I think was remanufactured. Every time I plugged it in, it made a popping noise (electrical arc sound). This is probably what led to it's eventual failure. The secondary problem was that from the day my laptop was back in my hands, the display screen hasn't functioned properly. It blacks out at random intervals (light the lightbulb goes out). In bright light, you can see the faint outline of what was on the screen moments before, and you can even see the mouse move, but it's at 1% brightness instead of 100%. It freaked me out at first, but I eventually figured out that by tapping on the nub that sticks out to tell the computer I have closed it (to put it in hibernation mode) it causes the screen to come back on. Sometimes I'll have to tap it 2-3 times before it works. It'll brighten the screen the moment I first tap it, but then go back to dark a split second later. I've also found that sometimes I can move the screen back and forth and it will pop back on, but 90% of the time the only fix is tapping that nub.

I have loved this laptop in spite of all of that though. You might say why didn't I send it back when the screen started acting flakey after the first repair? The answer is simple, it was the end of the semester at school, and I didn't feel that I could afford being without a computer for another half to full week. I had finals, papers to write, and other things looming that wouldn't work well with not having my computer.

James Dobson on Harriet Miers...

I haven't weighed in on my feelings about Harriet Miers yet. I don't know her, but if she's a strict constructionist, she would probably get my vote if I had one. I said before the last presidential election that the single most important issue of who we elect as president would be judicial appointments, and that is turning out to be so true. I don't mindlessly fall in step behind James Dobson, but on this subject I agree very much with him. I do respect his opinion on most subjects though.

Below is a segment of the radio show Dr. James Dobson did this past Wednesday, with John Fuller interviewing.

(Dobson speaking on Focus on the Family Radio Program)

One thing is clear. We know emphatically that Justices Souter and Kennedy and Breyer and Ginsburg and Stevens have made up their mind about Roe v. Wade, by politicizing their decrees on that issue and others. They have usurped the right of the people to govern themselves and they imposed a radical agenda on this country. And John, as long as I'm talking about that, let me say one other thing.

More recently, they have been drawing some of their conclusions, not from the Constitution and not from precedent and not from the American people, but from public opinion in Western Europe. You know, that's one of the most outrageous developments in the history of the Court. American public opinion is ignored and so are previous Court decisions or precedent. And frequently, the Constitution itself is bypassed. And instead they favor the views of people who have no commitment to our freedoms and our traditions that the Founding Fathers gave us.

So, I want the President to appoint someone who will go to the original intent of the Constitution and tell us what the founding fathers meant. If we don't like what they wrote, there's a process to change it. But the way it works now, every time the Court meets, it can be more or less a constitutional convention, where five or more justices reinterpret the meaning of that precious document.

Now Karl Rove didn't tell me all of that, but what he said, in essence, is that Harriet Miers is a strict constructionist, which is why the President likes her.

And you know, I've never met her; I don't have any personal communication with her. I've never received a letter or a phone call from her or any firsthand knowledge, but I do believe President Bush is serious when he says this is the kind of person I'm looking for and Harriet Miers is such a person.

Nevertheless, what the Democrats have concluded in their wildest speculation is that Mr. Rove laid out for me a detailed promise that Ms. Miers would vote to overturn Roe v. Wade and revealed all the other judicial opinions that she has supposedly prejudged. It did not happen, period!

Senator Leahy was speaking on George Stephanopoulos's program, "This Week" on Sunday, just past. And this is what he said and I quote. This is word for word: "James Dobson has said that he knew privately; he had private assurances of how she would vote." Well, Leahy is either lying or he's given to his own delusions or he's got some problem somewhere, because that's flat out not true.

Nowhere have I been quoted making such a statement, because it's not true.

Again John, last Sunday, Democrats were on all the talk shows and nearly all of them mentioned me one way or another. Senator Schumer from New York, referred to my conversations with Karl Rove as a "wink and a whisper," you know, trying to make something sinister out of it.

It's obvious what the agenda is here.

(full transcript here)

Friday, October 14, 2005

Mosaic and Erwin McManus at Bethel Seminary

Not much time to post, so a few pictures I'll come back and add to later. Erwin McManus of Mosaic Church speaking at Bethel Seminary today for the Transformational Church Series.

Below are Bethel Students making their way to break out sessions with the staff of Mosaic Church.

To the right is Mosaic's dance ministry team who performed a number of wonder pieces. Very skilled, very creative, very expressive. I had a chance to talk briefly with one of the dancers named Reggie and he said they are heading to the Mall of America tonight, and they fly back to sunny California tomorrow. At least the weather was nice while they were here.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

More money...and it's lure and danger...

Below is a very sad story. Sad on a number of levels - the loss of respect a church and community had for a highly visible pastor. A pastor's career ruined. People's trust of the church and pastors shattered. People not following a Biblical model of addressing problems and reconciliation. This is why I truly believe pastors should NOT handle the money. A group of lay leaders need to have this responsiblity. The pastor can lead through that group, but that group needs to have the final accountablility.


Pastor Admits Life of Crime (HT: FOTF)

Two years ago, things looked great for Rev. Larry Davis, pastor of one of Northern Kentucky's largest and fastest growing congregations, the First Baptist Church of Cold Spring. Most of the congregation of about 1,500 people revered him. A year earlier, he had been instrumental in bringing Billy Graham to Cincinnati for a four-day crusade that resulted in thousands of tri-staters making commitments to Christ.

Now Davis is headed to prison. In a deal with prosecutors, he pleaded guilty last week to federal charges that he lied on a loan application and evaded paying taxes. Five other charges were dismissed as part of his plea agreement. He now faces 24 to 30 months in prison when he is sentenced in February.

Davis has admitted he stole between $500,000 and $730,000 from church accounts he controlled. He diverted funds to himself between 2000 and 2003 by appointing himself as general contractor to an ambitious building program the congregation had undertaken. In addition, he had written checks to himself and made cash withdrawals from ATM machines. When the building program went over budget in September 2003, Davis forged documents to get an additional $500,000 loan using a multimillion-dollar line of credit the church had with Fifth Third Bank. To do so, he submitted a fake resolution he had drafted himself on church letterhead, saying the congregation approved of the new loan, and forging the signature of an unidentified long-standing church member. During the investigation, he also told bank officials that the church owed more than $160,000 to various contractors, but court records show they had already been paid. And he claimed a trucking company (owned by his personal friend) was owed nearly $61,000, but it was found the company never even worked on the project.

Davis also pleaded guilty to tax evasion between 2000 and 2003. The income tax due is between $150,000 and $199,000. He agreed to file new tax returns for those years before he is sentenced.

The church split over the issue and some 300 to 400 members formed Christ Baptist Church a mile away. When the crimes were discovered, the deacons confronted Davis and asked him to take a leave without pay while they investigated. Instead, his supporters ousted the deacons at a contentious congregational meeting. Davis has remained the pastor at First Baptist for 20 years until he submitted his resignation last week. The congregation has not yet voted on whether to accept it, however. Many still feel Davis is the man to lead this church.

The plea agreement makes clear what former members often stated, that Davis controlled most of the church's bank accounts, investment accounts and credit cards. Bob Hinant, who left the church when allegations against Davis first came to light, said that was a mistake. "You never let a hungry dog guard the food bowl, so to speak," he said. "You don't turn over control of finances to an employee. Everything should go through two or three hands before it's disbursed."

Making money can be an expensive process...

Banana and I have been working toward buying some rental properties the past few weeks, and to be honest, it's been eating my time up something fierce. I am quickly coming to the realization that it takes a lot of money to make money. A lot to me I suppose is not as much to someone else, but buying two properties at once, throwing in a re-fi on her house, and quite likely a Home Equity Line Of Credit (HELOC) and you have a lot of money we're talking about.

The houses we are looking at are owned by a friend, a man I have ministered with previously. It seems they are trying to help us out, which is mucho appreciated. We spent the evening with the loan guy, running numbers, figuring out every possible angle. Buying a house is scary. Buying two at once is really nuts. Our goal is to pay off my school loans, and begin to build a finacial base so we can give significantly to Kingdom work. We know the money is just on loan to us from God, and we want to be good stewards and honor God through this process. We don't ever want it to be about the money, that souless pursuit has swallowed too many people.

So I expect in the next 48 hours we will need to fish or cut bait. We'll either sign the purchase agreements, or we will walk away, undoubtedly leaving behind an opportunity that rarely comes along. Risk. Managing risk. It's stressful.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Transformational Church Series - Mosaic and Erwin McManus

Bethel Seminary presents the 10th annual
Transformational Church Series
"Transformed Heart, Transformed Church"

Thursday-Friday, October 13-14, 2005


Bethel Seminary’s Transformational Church Series is celebrating its 10th year of gathering seminary students, pastors, church staff, and ministry leaders to learn from the pastor and staff of a church making a transformational difference in its community.

Ministry practitioners haven’t the luxury to choose between:

* being and doing;
* loving people and leading congregations;
* inward vitality and outward effectiveness;
* living the abundant life and talking about it.

Our adventure and calling is to embrace the resources of God’s grace and power for ourselves as leaders while we communicate the whole gospel and create churches that are catalysts to grow Christ-followers into full maturity.

Thursday, October 13, will focus on the heart of the leader. Erwin McManus will provide the keynote address.

Friday, October 14, Erwin and the Mosaic team will demonstrate how to communicate the gospel within a slice of Los Angeles culture through a church characterized by innovation, a high-risk/high-impact philosophy, and uncompromised witness to the power of Christ.

Together the two days combine an emphasis on personal formation and leadership ingenuity. We believe it will be worth your while to create space in your schedule to both intentionally nurture your soul and to expand your capacity to advance your church’s mission.


About Mosaic

Thirty-five charter members of Bethel Baptist Church began meeting on January 3, 1943, in a rented Los Angeles storefront. By 1958, two more missions were established and weekly attendance averaged more than 250. But within 10 years, the cultural turbulence of the 1960s nearly brought the church, and the dream, to an end. In 1969, God called Tom Wolf to pastor what had become the First Southern Baptist Church of East Los Angeles, and moved the church to “become a spiritual reference point east of downtown L.A. and a sending base to the ends of the earth.” Wolf remained as senior pastor for 25 years at the renamed Church On Brady. In March 1993, The Church On Brady unanimously invited Erwin McManus to lead them into the 21st century. McManus sought a new name for this community on the forefront of God’s dreams for the future: “Mosaic,” which comes from the diversity among the church members and from the symbolism of a broken and fragmented humanity that can become a work of beauty under the artful hands of God. In 1996, Mosaic became a multisite church by expanding into a nightclub in the center of Los Angeles.

Erwin McManus is the cultural architect of Mosaic. Born in El Salvador, he graduated from the University of North Carolina and earned a Master of Divinity from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. McManus is founder of Global Impact and is sought nationally and internationally as a speaker on globalization, leadership, cultural transformation, post-modernism, and church growth. Author of several books, including Seizing Your Divine Moment; An Unstoppable Force; Uprising: A Revolution of the Soul; and The Barbarian Way, McManus also serves as Bethel Seminary’s own distinguished lecturer and futurist.

Each year Bethel Seminary does this Transformational Church Conference where they bring in the staff and worship team from a church. We've had Willow Creek with Bill Hybels, New Hope Fellowship from Hawaii with Wayne Cordiero, New Life Fellowship with Pete Scazzero (Emotially Healthy Church) and many other excellent churches and staff. I am excited for this opportunity. Erwin McManus is always interesting and challenging. If you are in the Twin Cities area, I suggest you see if there is a way to attend, it will be worth your time and money.

1 year of blogging...

Yesterday was the first anniversary of my being part of the blogosphere. What an interesting year it has been. I've gotten engaged in that period, started the process of buying two houses for income properties (I think we'll close the end of the month), preached a number of times, traveled to various places, and written lots of papers. I have posted 249 times on this blog, plus a bit over 100 times on my other blogs. Some have been good stuff, others have just been what is on my mind. So thank you for reading, I hope the next year is equally as interesting and God glorifying.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

What do people need?

The central need of people is to be reestablished in a living relationship with a loving God -- to love God with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength. How should we live in order to help them do this?

The first phase is bearing witness that reconciliation is possible (Acts 1:8). Christians are to bear personal verbal testimony of their salvation in Christ. We are to live lives that demonstrate that reconciliation with God has been accomplished, with Christ as our mediator. We are also to call on those who are not living under the rule of God to repent of thei rattitudes and deeds, and to give their lives to Christ and to join us in worshipping him. It is our priviledge as Christians to be used in this way by God, as His instruments to reach the world.

The second phase is that we must build up those who have entered God's kingdom through discipleship and in community through the church. This is where believers are to be nurtured, strenghtened, and ecouraged, as well as where they are sent out to the harvest field to continue with the first phase.

The third phase is that we are to live lives that shine light into the dark places of the world, and we are to act as preservatives in the world to effect healing of hearts, minds, souls and bodies. This healing is to take place both individually and corporately. Light needs to be brought to bear wherever injustice prevails, and salt needs to be applied when justice has made its mark.


The above is influenced by and in part taken from: Introducing World Mission by Moreau, Corwin and McGee

McHone and Piper on the existence of suffering...

Doug McHone at CoffeeSwirls live blogged the Desiring God conference in Minneapolis this past week. He has had some very good articles/posts from there. Below is an article that is worth your time to read, on the subject of the existence of suffering. I have just clipped a small part of the article, and suggest you head over to CoffeeSwirls for the rest of it.

I believe that the entire universe exists to display the greatness of the glory of the grace of God. I say again, the entire universe exists to display the greatness of the glory of God. The Bible makes plain that the greatest display of the glory of God is the display of the glory of His grace. Opening remarks by John Piper

So why was Christ sent to the world to suffer? For the display of the glory of the grace of God. In His supreme suffering is the clearest display of the grace of God that is possible or even conceivable. If that is so, then suffering is an essential part of the created universe if the greatness of the glory of the grace of God is to be displayed. The suffering of the innocent, holy son of God to bring us everlasting joy is the greatest display that ever was or could be.

God decreed from eternity past that His grace be shown. This was not a plan “B” option. God planned the day of Calvary from before the creation of all of creation. If he planned the suffering of Christ, then he planned all suffering that we will experience in this fallen world and He did so without sinning.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Soul food, Spiritual feedings...too busy not to pray...

The most common cause of unasnwered prayer is prayerlessness. - Hybels
My life has been crazy lately. I have chronicled some of the goings on here on my blog, but there is a lot more beyond that. Banana and I have been working on buying two houses in White Bear Lake, MN. I spent part of today with the Board of Trustees for Bethel Seminary, and you get the idea. We all live busy lives it seems, or at least in our culture. Certainly though, there are peaks and valleys. It is in the peak times we need to be reminded to feed ourselves spiritually.

Have you ever been so busy, or so engrossed in a project that you simply failed/forgot to eat? I have. Eventually our bodies will remind us that we've missed a meal or two though, and we take care of that need. God did not wire many of us with a similar system that alerts when we miss our spiritual feeding. Certainly when we become attuned to God's voice in our lives, we will miss this, but for many people it's more a matter of habit, and they are missing the motion more than the devotion. As we miss spiritual feedings, or at least in my experience, we begin a decline. I get more up tight, more easily angered. I do not feel as rested, and I struggle in my relationships. I am also prone to filling that void with something else.

So in this busy time of my life, I am trying to find places to relax for a few minutes, catch my breath, and get some spiritual nurishment. Bill Hybels' book "Too Busy Not To Pray" comes to my mind as the mindset I want for these busy times. I am simply too busy, with too many important things, to not take time out and pray, and read scripture. I have found that prayer journaling is a good discipline, even though I don't particularly like doing it.

The heart and soul of the Christian life is learning to hear God's voice and developing the courage to do what he tells us to do. - Hybels
We can only do this through reading of scripture and prayer. Keep that in mind.

Care to share your thought and experiences in times like this?

The archenemy of spiritual authenticity is busyness. -Hybels

Update on the rain...

The picture on the right is an image of the rainfall amounts of last night. Anything in red got more than 4 inches, and Banana's house falls within the circle where the red section is. I would guess 6.25 inches fell there from looking at surrounding reports and from listening to calls into 830AM WCCO.

The pictures yesterday and today are from the Star Tribune. Some snippets below from the Trib about the storm:

Sump pumps, dehumidifiers and fans whirred nonstop Wednesday as Twin Cities residents mopped up and dried out after Tuesday's rain flooded streets, ponds and storm sewers.

At least 4 inches of rain saturated most of the metro, with some areas getting substantially more. Nearly 7 inches fell in Burnsville and 9.59 inches was recorded at the airport in Rush City, some 50 miles north of the Twin Cities in Chisago County.

Roads closed. Cars stalled. Basements flooded. Rivers rose. And records were broken.

The 4.61 inches that fell at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport broke the record for Oct. 4 and set a daily record for the month of October, according to the National Weather Service. The old record was 2.75 inches and the October average rainfall is only 2.11 inches.

In Lakeville, at least eight homes near 167th Street and Cedar Avenue were evacuated by police and firefighters as a wetland overflowed. A nearby six-block section of Cedar was closed overnight because "the rain was creating a river on the streets," said Police Chief Steve Strachan.

Officers went to nearby homes where waist-high water lapped at front doors and suggested that homeowners flee, Strachan said.

At least a dozen residents took refuge in the nearby Ole Piper Inn Restaurant, which was just about to close at 1 a.m. Restaurant employees served pizza, turned on the cartoon channel and assured a little girl that her pet rabbit would be safe. By 6 a.m., people returned home."

"We're a family restaurant and these are our neighbors," said owner Ron Kveton. "You just do what you have to do."