Monday, August 30, 2010

What's Next For Francis Chan?

When you put Francis Chan, Mark Driscoll and Joshua Harris in a room together, you get one of the most interesting conversations I've ever been privileged to listen in on! Video of it below.

The Gospel Coalition Council members Mark Driscoll and Joshua Harris ask Francis Chan why he stepped down as senior pastor of Cornerstone Church in Simi Valley, California, and what he plans to do next.

Building Blocks for Successful Church Planters

Mark Bjorlo of The Journey North Church shared the following on his Facebook page today:

1. Relationship with God
2. Emotional Health/Self Image
3. Relational Ability
4. Marriage/Family Relationships
5. Personal Integrity
6. Vision/Philosophy of Ministry
7. Evangelism
8. Leadership Gifts/Ability
9. Entrepreneurial Organizer
10. Public Ministry Skills
11. Enthusiasm/Energy
12. Faith
13. Productivity
14. Knowledge of Church Planting
15. Discipling
16. Ability to Motivate Others

Friday, August 27, 2010

Top Ten Most Stressful U.S. Cities

Las Vegas, Nev., topped Forbes "most stressful cities" list. Coming in order after Las Vegas are Los Angeles, Calif.; Houston, Texas; Tampa, Fla.; Riverside, Calif.; Miami, Fla.; Dallas, Texas; New York, N.Y.; Chicago, Ill.; and number 10 is Detroit, Mich. Factors that determined their placement were: high unemployment, long commute times, long work hours, limited access to health care, poor physical health and lack of exercise. Click here to read more about the top ten most stressful cities. []

Thursday, August 26, 2010

New Church Body for Lutherans

This week, Aug. 26-27, in Grove City, Ohio, more than 1,000 Lutherans from throughout North America will gather to form a new church body for confessional Lutherans. The annual Convocation of Lutheran CORE will adopt a constitution to create the North American Lutheran Church. Rev. Mark Chavez, director of Lutheran CORE, said, "The NALC will embody the center of Lutheranism in America. The NALC will uphold confessional principles dear to Lutherans including a commitment to the authority of the Bible and the Lutheran Confessions." Lutherans throughout the United States have been reacting to actions by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America which allows pastors to be in same-sex relationships and to officiate at same-sex union ceremonies. They also object to the ongoing movement away from the authority and teaching of the Bible throughout the ELCA. []

Monday, August 23, 2010

Why does the King James Version of the bible have different verses?

Justin Taylor has started to answer this question.  Below is a segment from his post.  I highly recommend clicking through to his original because there are video and resources he provides as well that are excellent.


Have you ever wondered why modern translations of the Bible don’t have certain verses found in the King James Bible? This can be a sensitive pastoral issue, especially in some regions of the United States.
I occasionally get requests for recommended resources on how to respond, and thought I’d pull together a few popular-level pieces in this post.

Here is New Testament scholar Daniel Wallace:

The Greek text which stands behind the King James Bible is demonstrably inferior in certain places. The man who edited the text was a Roman Catholic priest and humanist named Erasmus. He was under pressure to get it to the press as soon as possible since (a) no edition of the Greek New Testament had yet been published, and (b) he had heard that Cardinal Ximenes and his associates were just about to publish an edition of the Greek New Testament and he was in a race to beat them. Consequently, his edition has been called the most poorly edited volume in all of literature! It is filled with hundreds of typographical errors which even Erasmus would acknowledge.
Wallace highlights two examples, starting with Revelation 22:
In the last six verses of Revelation, Erasmus had no Greek manuscript (=MS) (he only used half a dozen, very late MSS for the whole New Testament any way). He was therefore forced to ‘back-translate’ the Latin into Greek and by so doing he created seventeen variants which have never been found in any other Greek MS of Revelation! He merely guessed at what the Greek might have been.
Then 1 John 5:7-8:
For 1 John 5:7-8, Erasmus followed the majority of MSS in reading “there are three witnesses in heaven, the Spirit and the water and the blood.” However, there was an uproar in some Roman Catholic circles because his text did not read “there are three witnesses in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit.” Erasmus said that he did not put that in the text because he found no Greek MSS which had that reading. This implicit challenge—viz., that if he found such a reading in any Greek MS, he would put it in his text—did not go unnoticed. In 1520, a scribe at Oxford named Roy made such a Greek MS (codex 61, now in Dublin). Erasmus’ third edition had the second reading because such a Greek MS was ‘made to order’ to fill the challenge! To date, only a handful of Greek MSS have been discovered which have the Trinitarian formula in 1 John 5:7-8, though none of them is demonstrably earlier than the sixteenth century.
Wallace explains that he and many other textual critics would personally prefer to retain these readings, but integrity demands that we go with the best available evidence:
It illustrates something quite significant with regard to the textual tradition which stands behind the King James. Probably most textual critics today fully embrace the doctrine of the Trinity (and, of course, all evangelical textual critics do). And most would like to see the Trinity explicitly taught in 1 John 5:7-8. But most reject this reading as an invention of some overly zealous scribe. The problem is that the King James Bible is filled with readings which have been created by overly zealous scribes! Very few of the distinctive King James readings are demonstrably ancient. And most textual critics just happen to embrace the reasonable proposition that the most ancient MSS tend to be more reliable since they stand closer to the date of the autographs. I myself would love to see many of the King James readings retained. . . . But when the textual evidence shows me both that scribes had a strong tendency to add, rather than subtract, and that most of these additions are found in the more recent MSS, rather than the more ancient, I find it difficult to accept intellectually the very passages which I have always embraced emotionally.

Friday, August 13, 2010

U.N. Children's Rights Treaty

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) is concerned that, if the Senate gives President Obama his way and ratifies the United Nations Convention on the Right of the Child, "This treaty would, in fact, establish a precedent that those rights have been given over to the international community." DeMint also stated, "If the government, or even the international community, tells you how to raise your children here in America, is there anything that's off limits?"

The U.N. adopted the UNCRC on Nov. 20, 1989. Twenty nations signed on to enforce the treaty by Sept 2, 1990. That number is currently 193 nations, with the exception of the United States and Somalia. Nations that ratify U.N. treaties are bound to adhere to them by international law. If the Senate approves of this treaty, the United States would fall under the jurisdiction of an 18-member panel that oversees children's rights in nations that are part of the treaty. Among rights threatened would be parents' ability to direct their children's spiritual upbringing, as well as what and when they learn about sexuality.

Sen. DeMint is in the forefront of opposition to the convention and has introduced a resolution (S.R. 519) that asks the Senate not to ratify the UNCRC, as it "undermines traditional principles of law in the United States regarding parents and children." Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) is leading the charge for its adoption. So far, S.R. 519 has at least 30 co-sponsors. [,]

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Exchange with Ed Stetzer - Notes from 8/10/10

Ed Stetzer – The Exchange
Church revitalization

It is easier to raise a baby than to raise the dead!

Comeback Churches
-many churches are flat to declining
-studied 324 churches

What principles from Comeback Churches could guide pastors and churches down the path of revitalization?

What are some barriers to spiritual growth?
-self-focused leaders and churches
-when it all about you it is hard to focus on Christ
-Experiencing God’s discipline
-past problems in the church keeping new people from coming
-Lack of radical faith/reliance
-can’t live off the faithfulness of people in the past
-Doing instead of being the church
-just going through the motions rather than living out faith
-Watering down the gospel/truth
-Distracted from our first love
-Ineffective disciple-making
-Irrelevant ministry
-if the 50’s come back, many of our churches are ready to go!

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Little Men Working Potty for Justice!

For Justice's birthday my parents got him the Little Men Working Potty.  Since he is only 1 and not yet in potty training, we haven't officially tried it out.  But we took it out of the box an played with it anyhow, and it is really cool!  There is a sensor in the bottom of the bowl that identifies when a child has peed into it, and it plays encouraging truck sounds when this happens!  There are also weight sensors under the bowl that set off sounds when the child makes a deposit in the bowl.  Very cool!  Hopefully it'll encourage our little man sooner rather than later to be potty trained.  In the mean time he has enjoyed opening it and closing it, climbing on it and pushing it around the house.  We'll have to limit those activities once we put it into active doody...err duty.

Product Features

  • 3-in-1 potty, step stool and trainer seat
  • Truck design made just for boys
  • Rewards child with real truck sounds
  • Bonus stickers included (to reward the child with!)
If you are looking for something a little less showy I'd also recommend the Baby Bjorn Potty Chairs - they come in a rainbow of colors to match any bathroom's decor!

Friday, August 06, 2010

2010 Leadership Summit Notes

If you are looking for notes for the 2010 Leadership Summit put on by the Willow Creek Association, check out Tim Schraeder's notes - they are as good as they get.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Google Wave is dead

From the Google announcement:

Wave has taught us a lot, and we are proud of the team for the ways in which they have pushed the boundaries of computer science. We are excited about what they will develop next as we continue to create innovations with the potential to advance technology and the wider web.

Yeah, it taught you people still care about their privacy.  It taught you that you are not the goose that lays golden eggs.  And it taught you how NOT to roll out a new product.  Google Wave fail.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Review: The Suburbs by Arcade Fire

Below is my review of Arcade Fire's new album The Suburbs.  It was released today at midnight and is offering it for only $3.99 on MP3 download at the moment.  Is it worth $3.99?  Barely.

This is the review I have posted at

I really wanted to like this album. But I'm not an uncritical fanboy, so I can't. Sure, I don't hate it, it isn't bad. But it isn't special like some would have you believe. Don't drink that Kool Aid blindly.

My favorite part of the album as a whole is the overall ebb and flow of pace and style that keeps it at least interesting and listenable. It is music you can put on while driving down the road, and then tune out while you think of something else. But that isn't what I want in my music. I want it to grab me, to change me, to make me feel something, but mostly all I get from this is indifferent meh.

Some of the tracks really seem like they are trying to hard to be different. There is nothing wrong with different, but being different just to be different almost never works out unless your name is Beck.

1. The Suburbs - solid start, creative and catchy.
2. Ready to Start - R.E.M. does this better. So did The Cure.
3. Modern Man - It's like they stole it from 80's Devo and modernized it. Not bad!
4. Rococo - I like the rich musical sound, but the vocals don't add to it.
5. Empty Room - U2 meets Bjork. Not bad, but not great either.
6. City With No Children - U2 does this so much better.
7. Half Light I - Modern Pink Floyd - really good!
8. Half Light II (No Celebration) - Kinda Faith No More cross with INXS - and I really like it!
9. Suburban War - a modern take on acid rock? Wanted to like it, but can't.
10. Month of May - This one should be really high energy in concert, but doesn't seem to translate on the album.
11. Wasted Hours - Love it! Catchy, makes you want to air strum along.
12. Deep Blue - This is the rich sound like Rococo, but I like it much better. The vocals add to it here. Probably my favorite track.
13. We Used to Wait - Like the lyrics, you can keep the music.
14. Sprawl I (Flatland) - Good emotional "feeling" song. Easily blends into the background of life.
15. Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains) - Ace of Bass? ABBA? Really?
16. The Suburbs (continued) - Like Neil Young might sound today if he were 35 years younger. And that's a good thing. Great end to the album.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Cleargy need to take more time off, take care of themselves better

Original @ NY Times

Taking a Break From the Lord’s Work
Published: August 1, 2010

The findings have surfaced with ominous regularity over the last few years, and with little notice: Members of the clergy now suffer from obesity, hypertension and depression at rates higher than most Americans. In the last decade, their use of antidepressants has risen, while their life expectancy has fallen. Many would change jobs if they could.

Public health experts who have led the studies caution that there is no simple explanation of why so many members of a profession once associated with rosy-cheeked longevity have become so unhealthy and unhappy.

But while research continues, a growing number of health care experts and religious leaders have settled on one simple remedy that has long been a touchy subject with many clerics: taking more time off.

“We had a pastor in our study group who hadn’t taken a vacation in 18 years,” said Rae Jean Proeschold-Bell, an assistant professor of health research at Duke University who directs one of the studies. “These people tend to be driven by a sense of a duty to God to answer every call for help from anybody, and they are virtually called upon all the time, 24/7.”

As cellphones and social media expose the clergy to new dimensions of stress, and as health care costs soar, some of the country’s largest religious denominations have begun wellness campaigns that preach the virtues of getting away. It has been described by some health experts as a sort of slow-food movement for the clerical soul.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

"In God We Trust" Is Constitutional

(from FotF's Pastor's Weekly Briefing)

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in Washington, D.C., ruled that printing the national motto, "In God We Trust," on U.S. currency is constitutional and does not violate the Establishment Clause. Self-avowed atheist Carlos Kidd claimed U.S. currency violated the separation of church and state. Kidd demanded that the government "destroy or recycle all circulating currency, and replace it with new currency without religious inscription." The court wrote, "It is quite obvious that the national motto and slogan on coinage and currency 'In God We Trust' has nothing whatsoever to do with the establishment of religion." [Liberty Counsel]