Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Easter opener at Eagle Brook Church

Cool opening piece from Eagle Brook Church from Easter 2011. The opening is from SM Lockridge.

Sunday's Coming from Eagle Brook Church on Vimeo.
Eagle Brook Church 2011 Easter Opener

And for the record my favorite bassist on the planet is the Lino Lakes campus bassist shown in this video. He's fun to watch as he integrates his worship with his bass playing.

Eagle Brook Church - Woodbury campus opening Fall 2011

Eagle Brook Church has been talking for a while about building a campus site in Woodbury, and it appears they'll start meeting prior to the building being completed (see below).  Their temporary location is about a mile from the new campus for Crossroads Church (where we used to attend and serve prior to my current church).  Both are exceptional churches reaching people for Jesus.  The great thing is that Pastor Bob Merritt of Eagle Brook Church and Pastor Phil Print are long-time good friends.  So while I suspect there are some "unknowns" for Crossroads - I'm nearly positive Pastor Phil Print has welcomed Eagle Brook with wide open Kingdom vision arms.  There are some similarities between the churches, both being relevant with outstanding preaching, but the are both definitely their own type of church as well.

This campus will take off quickly with both Jason Anderson and Steve Duede leading the way.  By selecting these two as the point people Eagle Brook Church has made it clear that they have big expectations for the Woodbury Campus and are investing with some of their best resources up front.

From the Not Without You blog - post by Scott Anderson, Executive Pastor of Eagle Brook Church(s)

A Woodbury Campus: Opening Fall 2011

By Scott Anderson, Executive Pastor

Our plans to launch a church in Woodbury are quickly coming together!

Since purchasing 40 acres of property in Woodbury, our desire has always been to begin construction as soon as we were able. And yet an even bigger goal has been to get started as soon as possible, because we’re simply running out of room at our current campuses.

An opportunity to launch within East Ridge High School in Woodbury appears imminent, meaning we will have our first weekend services there sometime this fall.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Before the Throne of God Above

We're opening our Easter Worship with this song today.

Before the Throne of God Above

Before the throne of God above
I have a strong and perfect plea.
A great high priest whose name is Love
Who ever lives and pleads for me.
My name is graven on His hands,
My name is written on His heart.
I know that while in Heaven He stands
No tongue can bid me thence depart.

When Satan tempts me to despair
And tells me of the guilt within,
Upward I look and see Him there
Who made an end of all my sin.
Because the sinless Savior died
My sinful soul is counted free.
For God the just is satisfied
To look on Him and pardon me.
Behold Him there the risen Lamb,
My perfect spotless righteousness,
The great unchangeable I AM,
The King of glory and of grace,
One in Himself I cannot die.
My soul is purchased by His blood,
My life is hid with Christ on high,
With Christ my Savior and my God!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Tithing Not "Required" for Christians?

A recent survey conducted by the National Association of Evangelicals shows that a majority (58%) of evangelical leaders do not believe that giving 10 percent of one's income to the church is "required" by scripture. The research, which polled the members of the NAE board of directors, also included comments which related to the topic of tithing. For example:
  • "It is about how we give our whole selves to God, which includes money of course, but also our time and gifts," said Dr. Kurt Fredrickson, director of the Doctor of Ministry Program at Fuller Seminary in Pasadena, Calif.
  • "A stewardship worldview would include a sense of gratitude toward God as the source of our goods. If we are trying to express our gratitude toward God, I don't think our words are enough," said Dr. John Walton, professor of Old Testament at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Ill. "Still, the 10 percent standard in the Old Testament can serve as a 'benchmark'," said Walton.
  • "Anything less [than 10%] seems like an ungenerous response to God," wrote David Neff, editor-in-chief of Christianity Today.
According to research from the Barna Group in April of 2008, just 5 percent of American adults give 10 percent or more of their income, and among Christians who are born again, 9 percent reported giving 10 percent or more. And, the research organization Empty Tomb, reports that evangelicals give an average of 4 percent of their income to the church, and among all Christians, the average is only 2.43 percent.
Interestingly, 95 percent of those responding to the NAE survey said they personally give at least 10 percent of their income to the church.
The NAE conducts a monthly Evangelical Leaders Survey among its board of directors, which include the CEOs of denominations, missions organizations, universities, publishers and churches. For further details about the study, click here.

So what do you think?  What does your church teach?

Friday, April 15, 2011

Pharmacists' Rights of Conscience

In Illinois a circuit judge has ruled that pharmacists should not be forced to violate their religious beliefs by dispensing the oral contraceptive morning-after pill, sold as Plan B — which is designed to prevent pregnancy when taken within 72 hours of having sex and may cause an early abortion. In Missouri, the state House has given initial approval to legislation that would protect pharmacists from being forced to sell Plan B. The bill needs another House vote before it can move to the Senate. []

Friday, April 08, 2011

Religious Trends Shaping U.S. Politics

According to the April, 2011 edition of Newsmax, religion in the United States is evolving almost as rapidly as America itself. Listed below are seven top religious trends that are changing the nation's spiritual and political landscape:
  1. Social Networking — As a cohesive community, religious conservatives are positioned to take advantage of the rise of social networking, in an era when a single tweet or Facebook post can monopolize a political agenda.
  2. Political Ecumenism — Religious conservatives, facing a culture that appears indifferent or hostile to their values, are more willing to set their theological differences aside to defend common interests.
  3. Rise of Nondenominational Churches — The Baylor Survey on Religion reports that nondenominational congregations represent the fastest-growing segment of Protestant churches in America.
  4. Spreading Secularism — The percentage of Americans who claim no religious affiliation has nearly doubled in the past two decades (from 8 to 15%), according to the American Religious Identification Survey.
  5. Rise of Mixed-Faith Families — Growing research indicates that families identify increasingly with more than one faith. The Pew Forum found that 44 percent of U.S. adults have left the faith or denomination they grew up in.
  6. "Bliss" of U.S. Religious Ignorance — Religious leaders are rethinking their teaching methods following the latest Pew Forum poll, which revealed a startling degree of religious illiteracy.
  7. Strong Christian Tea Party Identity — Nearly half of tea party members are also part of the Christian conservative movement, according to a Public Religion Research Institute poll last fall.

(from FotF's Pastor's Weekly Briefing)

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Secular music in a worship setting - debated by Mark Driscoll and Perry Noble

The following is another segment from the Elephant Room conference I attended in late March.  And while I titled it as a debate by Mark Driscoll and Perry Noble, it was really largely a rant by James MacDonald for the most part.

Highway to Hell - Part 1 from Harvest Bible Chapel on Vimeo.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Matt Chandler and Steven Furtick at Elephant Room

Chandler and Furtick from Harvest Bible Chapel on Vimeo.

This is the first segment released from the conference I attended last Thursday. Some great discussions were had!

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

The Gospel in five minutes by Propaganda

G.O.S.P.E.L. from Humble Beast Records on Vimeo.
Presented by our good friends at
You can purchase/download at

Download Propaganda's New Album
"Art Ambidextrous" for FREE at

Monday, April 04, 2011

Calvinism and what I believe

At a conference last week I had the opportunity to talk with some Wesleyan men from Onalaska, WI and within that discussion I made mention of the fact that "I am not necessarily a full-on Calvinist" just as my good friend Brenton Balvin got back to the table, and therefore he kidded me about doubting our friendship (I know he wasn't serious) since he didn't have the context of what we were talking about. 

But after thinking about further the past few days, I still arrive at that same conclusion.  Do I consider myself more wise and learned in Biblical theology than John Calvin - by no means.  I don't doubt Calvin's conclusions that have been built on by many great people of faith.  But being a Calvinist isn't my aim.  My goal is to be Biblical, and if/where that overlaps with being a Calvinist, then so be it.  This is in large part because I think the label being a Calvinist is often more detrimental to faith discussions than it is helpful.  I want my theology to start and end with the Bible.  I appreciate that others have brought clarity to me through their teachings of the things found in the Bible, and I truly do try to glean all that I can, but in the end I must return to Scripture to compare what they are teaching to what it says.  I must weight carefully with diligence and discernment, and be willing to discard things that I find in conflict or contrary to the teachings I find in God's Word.

I think that especially in theological circles that labels all too quickly quash healthy discussion and cause people to be unnecessarily distrusting and defensive.  And in those situations they don't grow and I don't grow and it makes it more difficult to walk together in faith with those who I have differing views, but those who I'd certainly include within the boundaries of orthodoxy.

My friend Bret Capranica put words to this very idea a while ago on his blog, and rather than rehashing many of the fantastic points he's already made, I'd rather point you there.  He has stated his views quite well, and while there may be some nuances that we would disagree on, I'm OK with how he has presented his case.  Where might I vary?  Probably within the realm of man's freewill within the context of God's sovereignty, but only a little bit.  Perhaps elsewhere, but that is less the point than the larger idea Bret clearly, appropriately and aptly presents that we need to go to the Bible and return the the Bible for all of our theology.


In My Own Life
I will always devote time to seeking the will of God through reading the Scriptures and prayer.
I will endeavor to keep myself physically and emotionally fit.
I will seek in all ways to be Christ like in my attitude and conduct.
I will seek mutual accountability and spiritual friendship with fellow Christians for personal encouragement and nurture in order to ensure faithfulness to my calling as a steadfast follower and competent servant of my Lord Jesus Christ.

In Relationship to My Family
I will consider each member of my immediate family as precious gifts from God, and will carefully, lovingly and responsibly meet their needs as a sacred obligation before Him.
I will give spiritual leadership in my home.
I will be faithful and loyal to my family members, loving them as Jesus Christ loves His Church.

In Relationship to the Church
I will remember that I am called to lead, but also to serve.
I will never violate a confidence given to me.
I will be diligent in my duties as pastor, never lazy, but with God as my judge and my Shepherd.
I will be Biblical in my preaching, presenting the whole counsel of God, speaking the truth in love.
I will strive to introduce people to Christ, and to build His Church.
I will consider my call to the church a sacred responsibility and stand by my commitment to the church and leaders.
I will seek the unity of the church and resist any attempts to divide the congregation, either by supporting factions within the congregation or by my own initiative.

In Relationship to Other Ministers
I will be a brother in Christ to my fellow ministers.
I will not seek to build the church I serve at the expense of another church, nor my ego at the expense of another minister.
I will not speak uncharitably of either my predecessor or my successor.
I will refrain from pastoral contacts with former parishioners except with the knowledge of the present pastor.

In Relationship to the Community
I will seek to be responsible in my personal finances.
I will seek to build a positive relationship with the community without sacrificing my ministry to the church.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Alas! and Did My Savior Bleed?

Today in church we sang a song that clearly (sadly) few knew well.  This hymn was written by the great hymn writer Issac Watts.  It was this very hymn that led fellow hymn writer Fanny Crosby to fully live her life for Christ. Crosby writes about that November day in 1850 -

"And when they reached the third line of the fourth stan­za,

"Here Lord, I give myself away,"

my ve­ry soul was flood­ed with a ce­les­tial light. I sprang to my feet, shout­ing "hal­le­lu­jah," and then for the first time I real­ized that I had been try­ing to hold the world in one hand and the Lord in the other.

 Alas! and Did My Savior Bleed?

Crucifixion, by Simon Vouet
Alas! and did my Savior bleed
And did my Sovereign die?
Would He devote that sacred head
For sinners such as I?
[originally, For such a worm as I?]

Was it for crimes that I had done
He groaned upon the tree?
Amazing pity! grace unknown!
And love beyond degree!

Well might the sun in darkness hide
And shut his glories in,
When Christ, the mighty Maker died,
For man the creature’s sin.

Thus might I hide my blushing face
While His dear cross appears,
Dissolve my heart in thankfulness,
And melt my eyes to tears.

But drops of grief can ne’er repay
The debt of love I owe:
Here, Lord, I give my self away
’Tis all that I can do.

There is  an additional verse and refrain to this song that we don't normally sing in my church - you can find those here.

I'm certain we'll sing this song again.  It is so appropriate at a time of communion.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Elephant Room Conference - March 2011

This past Thursday I was blessed to be part of the Elephant Room Conference (along with good friend Brenton Balvin).  It was an interesting experience, and one that I think I will be processing for a while.  I brought my laptop to take notes, but as the conference started it became clear that I wouldn't take a lot of notes, but rather would just sit and enjoy the dialog.  Most of the notes I took were witty quips and one-liners.  Below is a an intro clip for the event as well as the questions that were being debated, along with just a very few of my own notes interspersed.  The debaters/pastors were James MacDonald, Mark Driscoll, Matt Chandler, Greg Laurie, Steven Furtick, Perry Noble, and David Platt.

The Elephant Room from Harvest Bible Chapel on Vimeo.