Monday, October 30, 2006

Eagle Brook Church - Sermon Videos now available

Over the past few years I have blogged extensively on Eagle Brook Church of both Lino Lakes and White Bear Lake Minnesota (two campus church). Today I was digging around their website when I discovered they have started making their sermons available online!

You can reach all of Eagle Brook Church's messages at their Past Messages page. There are currently only two videos available, but more will be added from this point forward. I haven't heard anything on whether they will be adding in past sermons or not. I have also not seen anything on a Vodcast by Eagle Brook Church, but since they only recently added a Podcast I'll give them a bit of time to get everything worked out before I inquire on this.

The first two sermons on video are:

Oct. 14/15 - Amazing Faith
Oct. 21/22 - Amazing Relevance

I have been watching the Amazing Relevance sermon this morning, and it is really good stuff. Speaking Pastor Jason Anderson uses an example from his own life about how he and his wife (the talented Amy Anderson) and children first came to Eagle Brook Church. The sermon is part of a series called "God's Amazing Church" where they are really hitting hard the questions of Why does Eagle Brook Church exist and Why do they do the things they do the way they do. Amazing Relevance is about why they place such a priority on being a relevant church. That doesn't mean a sold out church, or a church that is controlled by culture, but one that is informed and wisely uses the surrounding culture and one that ties church into every day life. They call it "Using what is cultural to communicate what is timeless". This is why I so deeply appreciate what this church is doing in the North Metro of Minneapolis and St. Paul. What is even greater, is that they understand that they are not the only church, and that churches should not be in competition with each other. They give away their best ideas. They frequently counsel other pastors and church staffs on how to get better at being/doing church. They want to help every church reach people for Christ and see lives transformed. They want to change the world.

So congrats and thanks to Eagle Brook Church for making yet another resource for online ministry available.

God's Amazing Church is a launch for the next stage in ministry at Eagle Brook Church. To see all the details on this visit the God's Amazing Church portion of their website. In summary, 0n October 14, 2006, Eagle Brook Church launched a 3-year campaign to raise $20 million. This money will be used to BUILD UP the ministry of Eagle Brook Church, and BUILD OUT to help people and churches beyond our church walls.

Eagle Brook Church is planning on at least 15% attendance growth for the next 3 years. Since they opened their new campus December 4th/5th of 2005 they have gone from roughly 6400 weekly attenders to over 10,000 people each week worshiping in one of their two campuses. God is moving in big ways in this church! They have done their homework, and have identified where their people come from, and how many more still need to find a church home. There are 300,000 people who live within a 10-mile radius of EBC, and just a small percentage of those households attend EBC. Many have no church affiliation at all, and half only go to church once or twice a year.

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Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The need for discernment, accountability, and to read our Bible...

The following is taken from the Star website. It is a painful reminder for why we need discernment, accountability to other Christians, and why we need to read our Bible.

LUCASVILLE, Ohio — Ohio executed a religious cult leader today for the murder of a family of five followers who were taken one at a time to a barn, bound and shot to death. The youngest was just 7 years old.

Jeffrey Lundgren, 56, died by injection at 10:26 a.m. at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility for the deaths of the Avery family.

The evidence against him was compelling: Lundgren, upset by what he thought was the Avery family's lack of faith, arranged a dinner hosted by cult members. Afterward, he and his followers led the Averys one by one — the father first, young Karen last — to their deaths while the others unknowingly cleaned up after dinner.

A chainsaw was used to muffle the gunfire.

Lundgren argued at his trial in 1990 that he was prophet of God and therefore not worthy of the death penalty.

"It's not a figment of my imagination that I can in fact talk to God, that I can hear his voice," he had told the jurors. "I am a prophet of God. I am even more than a prophet."

He was convicted of killing Dennis Avery, 49; his wife, Cheryl, 46; and their daughters, Trina, 15, Rebecca, 13, and 7-year-old Karen.

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Thursday, October 19, 2006

A great opportunity offered by Justin Taylor

Justin Taylor at Between Two Worlds blog shared the following earlier today:


If you are interested in reviewing Overcoming Sin and Temptation (ed. Kapic and Taylor) and/or Suffering and the Sovereignty of God (ed. Piper and Taylor), here's what you can do:
  1. Send us an email at, letting us know which book you'd like to review. (It's fine if you want both.)
  2. We'll email you a free PDF of the book(s). We won't send out any more PDFs after October 31, so please send your requests before then.
  3. If you post a blog review, then please cross-post it at
  4. Then send us the blogreview link + your snail-mail address, and we'll send you a free hardcopy of the book(s).
If you want to read the entire book before you review it, that's great! But another suggestion would be to read and review three chapters from the Suffering book and/or the Introduction + just the Mortification book.

Happy reading and reviewing!


For the record, I am doing this (got both books already downloaded, thanks Justin!) and have done this previously with Sex and the Supremacy of Christ (sorry about the formatting issues!) which was also a Piper and Taylor collaboration based off of the Desiring God National Conference of the same title.

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Wednesday, October 18, 2006

God's Grace - my Integrating Motif...

I am working on my Integrating Motif for my Senior Statement of Faith for Bethel Seminary (a requirement to graduate). Below is what I have so far (it is due on Friday) and I would be open to critique. We have to pick a major theological concept that has come to serve as an integrating motif for our faith, and will then use that motif as the frame work for our 18 page statement of faith (basically a summary of our complete theology). All of this goes before review by our professors/faculty at the Seminary. It's how they keep the heretics from graduating :-)

The word xaris in the Greek New Testament is translated as “grace”. We see from Romans 3:22-24, 5:15-16 that grace by definition is not something we have earned, it is given without expectation of repayment. We have not done and cannot do anything to compel God to give His grace. When we experience God’s grace we find a freeness to know God in our relationship to Jesus Christ (John 1:16-17).

The central theme to the Bible is God’s grace. We find this from the beginning to the end of the Bible. Genesis 1-2 tell of God’s gracious act in creating the world for the welfare of mankind. From there on we can trace the grace of God through the way He first dealt with sin in Genesis 3:16-22, to Revelation 22:17 where God is still inviting people to receive His grace.

God continually shows that He is a gracious God, forgiving people’s sins, sending his Son to die on a cross for people’s sins (John 3:16-17), and delivering those who do not deserve such kindness from their sins. God in grace enters into covenant relationships in the Old Testament as testaments to His grace (Noah in Genesis and Abraham in Exodus for example). In many other places as well God showers humanity with grace. Scripture continually reminds us that grace is a blessing given freely by God to those He has created.

Christ is the core expression of God’s grace for humanity. Through Christ’s atonement for our sins we are freed by God from the judgment and wrath that would rightfully be ours as a result of our sins. Christ’s work on the Cross fully reconciles through grace all those who would trust in Christ as Lord and Savior (Ephesians 2:8).

The role of grace in my own life cannot be underestimated. I daily need to rely upon grace as I continually sin. From this first hand experience of God’s grace I am able to understand how God’s grace plays out in other people’s lives, and in the church. The foundation of Christ’s church rests solely on God’s grace. The very nature and mission of the church is defined by grace. Without this grace the church falls into either legalism or liberalism, both of which reduce or remove the power of the work of Christ. The church (and thereby God’s people) is God’s chosen way to bring grace into the world.

God’s grace through Jesus Christ needs to be the central focus of my ministry. I need to teach, preach and model grace in ways that lead others to embrace and grow in grace. I desire to create an environment in my church where others can experience grace, and learn to share it with others. Through this multiplication God’s grace will be spread much further than I could ever do on my own.

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Monday, October 16, 2006

An afternoon with a seeker...

I spent this afternoon talking with a man who I would dub as a seeker. My wife invited him over after he expressed some interest in talking about God. He is blind, and we see him walking past our house from time to time. We had a lengthy discussion about God 2.5+ hours, and he would like to talk again. Pray that God will work on his heart, that he will be more open to the Gospel, and that I (or whoever else he talks to next) will have the right words to share with him.

He was blinded a few years ago in a motorcycle accident and lives with his son who is a senior in a nearby highschool. He is very postmodern (in spite of being in his mid 50's) and is trying to draw from every religious stream. He is struggling through a contorted image of God. He is hung up on a good number of things in the Old Testament. We will be meeting again, he has invited us (my wife and I) over to his house for the next round.

Please pray for him and I (and my wife). We both need it.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Transformational Church Series: 1st Baptist Church of Glenarden

Today I took the time to participate in Bethel Seminary's Transformational Church Series. It was great as always. This year the featured church was First Baptist Church of Glenarden. I have had the opportunity of meeting and interacting with the Sr. Pastor John Jenkins a number of times this past year through my work as the President of the Seminary's Student Senate. Pastor Jenkins serves on the Board of Trustees for the Seminary. I also had the opportunity to catch up with Justin Irving, whom I was a teaching assistant for last school year. I had not seen Justin since last May, so it was good to catch up with things about school and life. He passed on to me that while "Googling" his name, his mother found my blog!

A bit about First Baptist Church of Glenarden:
Pastor John Jenkins didn’t have to lead his thriving African American congregation to become part of the Baptist General Conference, a predominantly white fellowship. But First Baptist Church of Glenarden did just that, because of Jenkins’ conviction that "we need diversity—we need each other." And if Bethel Seminary and our constituency are to achieve our calling, we repeat his conviction: "We need diversity—we need each other." So we are thrilled to partner with First Baptist Church, host to Bethel Seminary of the East’s metro Washington, D.C. teaching center in Landover, Maryland.

From any biblical standard of evaluation, First Baptist Church is among those high-impact churches whose influence ripples in ever-widening circles—locally, nationally, and internationally.

* With more than 100 separate ministries, First Baptist Church reaches people and offers them the power of the gospel.
* Evangelism and discipleship lie at the heart of their ministry.
* First Baptist Church is a teaching church, where 1,000 pastors and leaders annually come for instruction and inspiration.
* Devotion to Christ, stewardship of resources, servant leadership, and broad participation of members are manifested in the growth of the congregation from 500 to 7,000 during the past 14 years.

Pastor Jenkins leads this transformational church with a powerful combination of gifts and values, including anointed preaching, unusual discernment in selecting outstanding staff, compelling vision, cross-cultural commitments, and astute implementation of strategic plans. He and nearly 30 of his key staff and leaders will join us for the 11th annual Transformational Church Series on Friday, October 13.

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Thursday, October 12, 2006

Mark Driscoll on Glorifying God...

This morning (while avoiding writing a paper) I watched a sermon preached by Mark Driscoll. It covered the text of 1 Corinthians 10:23-11:1. It is an absolute must listen to (or watch via Vodcast) sermon. This sermon is so good that you need a copy, you need to burn a copy for friends and family members, and you need to give a copy of it to your pastor as well. He absolutely brings it on this one. The sermon is about Glorfying God (yes, he does reference John Piper toward the end of the sermon) and living as Christians in our culture. This is a sermon of great clarity, yet presented in a remarkably engaging fashion.

For those who don't know who Mark Driscoll is, I've copied his bio from his blog below:

Pastor Mark Driscoll was born in 1970 and raised Irish Catholic. He was born again in late 1989, married his high school sweetheart Grace in 1992, graduated with a B.A. in Speech Communications in 1993, and is currently completing an M.A. in Exegetical Theology at Western Seminary. He founded Mars Hill Church in Seattle in the fall of 1996, which has grown to almost 5,000 in one of America’s least churched cities and is one the nation's 60 fastest-growing churches. He co-founded and is President of the Acts 29 Church Planting Network, which has planted over one hundred churches in the U.S. and internationally, and most recently he founded and leads the Resurgence Missional Theology Cooperative. Pastor Mark has been named one of the twenty-five most influential pastors in America by The Church Report, one of the most influential young preachers in America by Christianity Today, Inc. (with over a million downloads of his sermons a year), and one of the twenty-five most powerful people in Seattle by Seattle magazine. Media coverage on Pastor Mark and Mars Hill varies from National Public Radio to Mother Jones magazine, Blender music magazine, Outreach magazine, Preaching Today, and Leadership magazine to ABC Television and the 700 Club. His writing includes two books; The Radical Reformission: Reaching Out Without Selling Out and Confessions of a Reformission Rev: Hard Lessons From an Emerging Missional Church. He is also a staff columnist for the Seattle Times, Rev! magazine, and The Church Report. Most enjoyably, Mark is the father of three sons and two daughters.

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Wednesday, October 11, 2006

A sad Pastoral story...

From (my hometown newspaper):

Pastors from five mainline denominations criticized South Dakota's abortion ban Tuesday, separating themselves from their Roman Catholic and evangelical counterparts and ramping up a politically charged debate that already is influenced by strong religious undercurrents.

Representatives from a group called Pastors for Moral Choices said the proposed ban, which will be voted on Nov. 7, restricts religious freedom and would return the state to a "regressive, discriminatory and dangerous way of life." At a news conference in Sioux Falls, they said the ban was "neither just nor compassionate."

The group includes pastors from the Episcopal Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Presbyterian Church (USA), the United Church of Christ and the United Methodist Church.

Surprise surprise, a bunch of denominations that have abandoned the inerrancy of scripture (a high view of scripture) endorse the right to have an abortion.

The Pastors for Moral Choices statement said many Christian, Jewish and Muslim religious authorities believe abortion is permissible in the early weeks of a pregnancy.

Pregnancies that are the result of violence against women, including rape, incest and coercion, are especially complex and difficult.

"We seek to promote social policies that are fair, equitable and above all, merciful," the pastors said in a statement.

"A lot of pastors are conflicted right now just because they have people in their churches that have feelings on both sides of the issue, and it takes a certain amount of courage to stand up and say this is wrong," Hickey said. "I understand their points about women, but can't we love both the woman and the child?"

The Rev. Edward Goode, a Presbyterian pastor from Sioux Falls, said it's impossible to reach a consensus.
It's only impossible to reach a consensus when you have compromised the very foundation of Christianity, the Word of God. If the people in the pews are informing, and influencing their pastors on this subject something is desperately amiss. Yes, it takes courage to say something is wrong, that is the job of the pastor. Don't like it? God needs Christian burger flippers too. If the pastor cannot or will not make the tough calls the sheep have no shepherd. I find it interesting how the "pastor" considers abortion - the killing of an unborn baby - to be both merciful and equitable. Maybe we're not using the same language. It's clear we're not using the same hermeneutic and view of scripture.

Check out (*Warning, that link has some strong content, but lives are at stake*)

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I love the snow...

I love the snow...just not today. I love snow because it reminds me of God's glory. Each flake falling from the sky in its individual form is a miracle. Watching heavy snow fall is very soothing, especially in the city. The snow absorbs all the sounds, makes the city somewhat quiet for a time. It also makes the city clean. Cities are generally ugly and dirty in my experience. The stale concrete, the trash on the side of the road, the smells and noise - they are like our sin. We are filthy. Even when we clean up or cover up, we still smell. The snow makes that look pure, clean, as we look to God if we have accepted Christ as our Savior.

Today it is snowing in Arden Hills, MN. It is not snowing hard, just a few flakes here and there. But it nonetheless reminds me of the grace that falls down on me. I cannot make it snow, and I cannot make the grace that I need, both are beyond me. And I am thankful for both, though not yet ready for the snow.

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Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Grace Driscoll on the role of women from the book of Ruth...

(HT Justin Taylor)

Grace Driscoll, wife of Mark Driscoll (and mother of their 4 children) of Mars Hill posed the following question: Is the biblical view of women applicable in our culture today?

She went on to answer that question in a remarkibly wise and graceful way.

Does what the Bible say about women really apply to us today in this culture (submission, can't be a pastor, weaker vessel, more easily deceived, etc.)? Doesn't it make us too vulnerable to our husbands? Doesn't it limit our ability to demonstrate our gifts? Doesn't it make us less of a human to just stay at home with the kids or take care of our husband? These are the questions I hear over and over from women. They are wrestling with how a loving, all-knowing God could possibly think that such antiquated ideas would work today.

The answers to these questions are clear in the Word, yet so seemingly unclear when compared to the yearnings of the culture around us. The more I study what God says for me to do as a women, wife and mother, the more peace I have in the roles God created for me. Through Ruth and various other verses, I will explore with you the clear principles that God has given us and the freedom in the methods by which we live them out.

After studying the Book of Ruth for the last few months, my understanding of submission, God's sovereignty, and Christ's redemption has been newly awakened as comforting truths.
For the full article go HERE. It is worth your time.

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Sunday, October 01, 2006

I was a doubter...Minnesota Twins!!!

Today the Minnesota Twins defeated the Chicago White Sox, and the Kansas City Royals defeated the Detroit Tigers clinching the American League Central Division Title for the Twins.

The last week of May I had a conversation with a co-worker, where I stated I didn't believe the Twins had a shot at making the playoffs, let alone winning the division title. They were something like 12.5 games behind the Tigers, and 6 behind the White Sox who were playing very well. From that time the Twins went on a tear and won 71 of their next 104 games. WOW!

Congratulations to the Twins and to Joe Mauer who also won the American League batting title.

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