We’ll be in Sterling Virginia at St. Matthew’s Church with my former students — Rob and Linda Merola — April 14-15.
Thomas Boswell, simply the best baseball writer in American history, got it right when he said this: “All baseball fans can be divided into two groups: those who come to batting practice and the others. Only those in the first […]
Any study of the disciplines that shape Christian community eventually comes face to face with forgiveness, and Darryl Tippens, Pilgrim Heart, turns to this theme in chp. 9. I remind readers that we touched on forgiveness and memory when we […]
I gave two talks in Seattle, but I want to summarize what I said in my talk on Saturday. My talk was about “mistakes missional gospel folks need to avoid.”
The last verse of Psalm 119, which marks the end of this series, surprises:
The most neglected texts about women in ministry in the entire Bible are texts about Mary, and because our class has been looking at Mary of late, I thought I’d make a few suggestions about Mary and Ministry for women. […]
In chp 4 of A. Greeley and M. Hout’s The Truth about Conservative Christians [CCs] the authors explore the statistics about the difference between African Americans and white Conservative Protestants (CPs). Listen to this conclusion:
The second to last verse of Psalm 119 brings to fruition the center of the entire psalm:
Dear Matt, Your question is being asked in all sorts of ways.
Todd Hunter made two major presentations. The first one on Friday evening was on the meaning of missional and I didn’t take as many notes as I might have because I was listening so intently. Todd, I should mention, is […]
The psalmist often declares his commitment to God and to God’s Word and therefore he believes the Lord should deliver him. Notice these lines:
A second study in Andrew Greeley and Michael Hout’s study, The Truth about Conservative Christians, is about the politics of Conservative Christians (CCs). What do they think and practice? It might surprise you.
We were anything but sleepless in Seattle. In fact, it was a weekend dedicated to a conversation about missional. (The mp3s are here.) I’ll post three times on the Missional Matrix event at Vineyard Community Church, an event sponsored by […]
In the final paragraph of Psalm 119, in v. 171, the psalmist erupts into praise and he describes before God what his experience is (or will be) like.
Andrew Greeley and Michael Hout, both professors of sociology and geared up with all kinds of statistics, are convinced that the public perception of “conservative Christians” (CC) is off base in the media. So, they set about to discover what […]
I’m reading it all over the web, I’m hearing it from individuals, and I’ve read it in a few books. I call it the “Emergent False Dichotomy.” Here’s the accusation: the emerging movement, especially its writers and leaders, constantly use […]
We’ve now come to the end of Psalm 119, the taw section. Like much of the psalm, there is an interchange between pleading with God for deliverance and publicly confessing the psalmist’s commitment to God. In this section, that commitment […]
O Almighty God, who alone canst order the unruly wills and affections of sinful men: Grant unto thy people that they may love the thing which thou commandest, and desire that which thou dost promise; that so, among the sundry […]
Please pray for these people.
Casey Stengel was once asked about his own successfulness. Here’s his response:
It will be called “First Day, Goldingay.” The first day of the next twenty months will have a post on John Goldingay, Old Testament Theology — Israel’s Gospel and Israel’s Faith. There are now 2 volumes out; it is too […]
The 8th chp of Darryl Tippens’ Pilgrim Heart concerns yet another spiritual discipline that is designed for the Christian in community rather than just for the Christian alone. This chapter discusses confessing to one another and hearing the words of […]
Mark Allan Powell’s book, What Do They Hear?, opens up for pastors and laity the differences between how they read the Bible and what they hear when they read it — especially when they are not together. Chp 4 concerns […]
The psalmist has found peace but he has not found that peace in the security of knowing he’s no longer persecuted nor in the security of being “in the know” with the right people. He’s found peace, great peace, because […]
Fasting, as we see it in the pages of the Bible, has been appropriated in the Christian tradition in a way that often abandons its biblical sense. In particular, it has become for many today a technique. What do I […]
We now come to the end of Alan Hirsch, Forgotten Missional Ways, which book has continued to grow on me as a must-read for missional Christians. What happens when a growing, thriving, missional church gets captured by middle-class culture: it […]
The psalmist is at peace and resolved to tremble at God’s word — not the princes of his day — and to take his joy in the promises of God — not the strength that comes from association with powers […]
Pastors, this one’s for you — non-pastors, this one’s also for you. Mark Powell’s book, What Do They Hear?, assumes a significant distinction between clergy and laity and, if you are in a reasonably traditional church, the assumption is a […]
Hildegard, one person says, “was a remarkable woman in an age of remarkable men.” And Carmen Butcher, author of a beautiful study on St. Benedict, brings Hildegard of Bingen to life in this fresh translation and study of her life.
With princes breathing down his neck, the psalmist finds peace and is resolved to tremble at God’s word and to find joy in God’s promise. How does he do so? I suspect this is how:
I make a confession: I’m a bit surprised by a trend I’m seeing in some of what I’ve read about fasting. Most of my time has been spent pondering (1) what the Bible says in its context and how that […]
Again, Pete Greig’s book God on Mute gives 16 reasons why our prayers are not answered as we’d like them. This completes the list.
The psalmist’s tranquility is palpable … chiefs are chasing him but he’s found repose in knowing God. He’s not only peacefully resolved to tremble at God’s word, he’s peacefully resolved as well to rejoice in God’s promise.
May the virtue of our daily work hallow our nightly prayers. May our sleep be deep and soft so our work be fresh and hard. Celtic Daily Prayers.
We Protestants teach everyone this: You must read the Bible for yourself. Of course, we don’t want those “you”s to get too clever and start saying things that aren’t there, but there is a lot in this teaching we hold […]
Kris and I were invited down for a Saturday event at North Point church in Alpharetta, Georgia (northside of Atlanta). I was asked to address the Starting Point leaders on Embracing Grace. Starting Point, North Point’s weekly small-group conversations with […]
Mary and Peter, on the way to the cross, had to learn first that it was the cross that was coming — and that meant unlearning that the expectations and anticipations would be jolted with an utterly new reality. God’s […]
In the Shin/Sin section of Psalm 119, that is verses 161-168, we find a subtle shift of mood and tone. The psalmist is resolute and determined, but now a tranquility and peace hangs over the psalm. He’s peacefully resolve to […]
Fourth Sunday in Lent Gracious Father, whose blessed Son Jesus Christ came down from heaven to be the true bread which gives life to the world: Evermore give us this bread, that he may live in us, and we in […]
We’ll be in Atlanta at North Point this Saturday giving a seminar called “Engage” and next weekend we are in Seattle at an emerging event open to the public about being missional in a postmodern world. Bird spottings: this week […]
I managed baseball teams for years and one of the fun games was coming up with signs that you motioned to players from the 3d base coaching box. I once had a spurt where I went through all kinds of […]
On Fridays we are conversing our way through Darryl Tippens’ Pilgrim Heart, a book that explores the spiritual disciplines that impinge upon our corporate life together. The topic this week is one familiar to this blog: befriending. I want to […]
Yep, my Spring Break this week was a 7-4 Spring Break. When my students were wallowing in sand in Florida or some place more exotic, I was at home. In Chicago. The snow melted early in the week with temps […]
The focal point of this psalmist, a fella who has his back against the wall and is surrounded by those who want to do him in, is this:
Dear Holly, What a fascinating question. You are taking a sociology class, your professor says what people fear the most tells you most about them, and you and your friend begin to discuss what fear drives the “Liberal churches, the […]
I just finished a deeply moving book by Edward Gilbreath, Reconciliation Blues. There is nothing in this book that makes you think Gilbreath, an editor at CT, thinks the end of racialization is imminent. Instead of repeating well-worn figures, Gilbreath […]
The Story of the Eikons and The Story of the Gospel.
As with vv. 153, 154, the psalmist’s plea is very simple and clear. We find it in vv. 156 and 159:
After teaching Genesis 1–3, I’m persuaded that this narrative of the primal pair teaches that God made them for mutuality. I see no indicators of hierarchy — whether in creation order or in the so-called “curse” after the fall. I […]
Last week we began looking at Pete Greig’s fine book, God on Mute. The book deals with the reality and struggle of the Christian when dealing with “unanswered” prayer — however you might want to define “unanswered.” I think one […]
2nd Annual Conference of Radical Evangelicals Wheaton, Illinois Friday and Saturday, March 16th and 17th, 2007
When your back is against the wall you know have to know not only where to look (to God) but also where not to look — and the psalmist explores that in vv. 155, 157-158. Here are his words:
Yesterday I posted some general and positive thoughts on Rob Bell’s new book Sex God. Today I want to register my critique. I usually don’t do this, but I’ve been asked by so many to set out my views so […]
We have been conversing on this blog for weeks about Alan Hirsch’s fine book, The Forgotten Ways. Today’s topic for conversation is his 5th element of apostolic genius or “missional DNA” (mDNA). As with previous chapters, I think this chp […]
The psalmist’s back is against the wall. He has faced God, he has asked God for rescue, and he has appealed to his own integrity — that’s 119:153. In v. 154 there is a subtle, revealing development.
The top four seeds are right: Duke, UConn, North Carolina, and the Lady Vols. Fantastic teams and Kris and I love each of these teams — though I tire of Gino at times. We also like Wiggins from Stanford, so […]
It’s OK for the Church for the better part of twenty centuries to interpret the Song of Solomon as a parable of Israel’s or the Church’s or the individual’s relationship with God — with YHWH or with the Father or […]
Christianity Today reports that James Dobson is leading a charge to remove Rev. Richard Cizik from the National Association of Evangelicals — he’s VP — because of his relentless concern with global warming. What is the logic here? Is it…
For Mary and Peter, life changed over a sword and a few words. The flash of Simeon’s sword opened Mary’s eyes and turned her expectations and participations inside out. The express words of Jesus to Peter stopped him dead in […]
Have you ever had your back to the wall? Ever wonder if you were going to make it? Ever wonder if the enemy would do you in? Ever wonder if you would live another day? The psalmist knows the experience, […]
What do you think of the pairings? Personally, I think Illinois’ ranking was too low; they beat Indiana 2x this year and had more wins, yet Indiana is 5 levels higher? C’mon. Who will win? Kansas won’t last long; UNC […]
Third Sunday in Lent Almighty God, who seest that we have no power of ourselves to help ourselves: Keep us both outwardly in our bodies and inwardly in our souls, that we may be defended from all adversities which may […]
New blog: Finking out Loud with David Wheatley (a feeologian). You may not laugh aloud, but he’ll bring you some smiles. Another new blog: Ed Gilbreath, author of Reconciliation Blues, has a blog that will devote itself to racial reconciliation.
Casey Stengel: “Good pitching will stop good hitting and vice-versa.”
Are you interested in taking a theological course on the missional perspective — and take it online? Check this out: Biblical Theological Seminary site, scroll down the right to “Biblical’s First Online Course,” click there and you can see the […]
Between 1968 and 1988, the average American added 168 hours of work to his or her annual work load — working about a month more per year! We work too much. Darryl Tippens, in chp 6 of Pilgrim Heart, adds […]
Tuesday night, Wednesday morning and early afternoon, and Thursday morning I spoke to the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship Graduate Staff Ministries. To my delight, no travel: one mile west of my home is St Mary of the Lake Seminary and IVCF […]
The psalmist begins this section by crying out to God for deliverance. As the section develops he becomes confident, and part of the reason for his confidence can be found in v. 152.
This is the 3d and final part of RJS’s review of Vern Poythress, Redeeming Science. [SMcK adds later: Take advantage of this; you are reading a world-class scientist and Christian as you read this post today and interact with RJS.] […]
Following our knock-down, drag-out event at Greensboro, with Tony Jones telling stories and yours truly pushing the message of Jesus through the “Lukan thread,” Tony and I gathered together for a brief respite and you can see, because he’s checking […]
The psalmist’s confidence brims over the top now: if v. 149 shows that he can make claim on God because of God’s steadfast love and judgment, in vv. 150-151 the psalmist expresses a singular confidence.
Most of us, at one time or another, struggle with the reality and prospect of unanswered prayers. We read about promises that if we have enough faith we will be heard or we read that if we ask we will […]
Kris and I had a wonderful time in Portland. To begin with, once again we were treated to the glories of mountains, deep gorges, and waterfalls cascading down green mountains. You can see what I mean here:
The psalmist is crying out for deliverance from his persecutors. He wants to be delivered so he can continue a life of Torah observance. He cries out to God all night long — and the foundation for his cry for […]
The first three elments of apostolic genius, or missional DNA (mDNA), according to Alan Hirsch in his The Forgotten Ways, are: (1) centrality of Jesus, (2) disciple-making, and (3) a missional-incarnational impulse. Today we look at #4: an apostolic environment […]
I’ll be analyzing Rob Bell’s new book, Sex God: Exploring the Endless Connections between Sexuality and Spirituality, starting sometime next week. Rob’s on tour about this book now. Any thoughts?
We were invited to Portland to speak at the Pacific Northwest Covenant Church’s annual meeting called “Crossing Borders.” The focus was on racial reconciliation and on missional work. The day began with a time of worship, led by a former […]
The psalmist is diligent. Notice his words — a kind of two-step direction in his diligence:
According to Steven Keillor in his God’s Judgments: Interpreting History and the Christian Faith, the fundamental obstacle for Christians’ interpreting historical events is the philosophical stance called “worldview.” Mark Noll writes the foreword and admits he’s a worldview thinker and […]
Our series intertwines the life of Mary and Peter as two prime examples of how the earliest followers of Jesus struggled to make sense of the scandalous nature of a mission that involved crucifixion. Last Monday we looked at the […]
The qof section of Psalm 119, vv. 145-152, explores the psalmist’s call to God. The psalmist, once again in a condition of being hunted down like an animal (v. 150), cries out to God. And along with his cry is […]
Second Sunday in Lent O God, whose glory it is always to have mercy: Be gracious to all who have gone astry from thy ways, and bring them again with penitent hearts and steadfast faith to embrace and hold fast […]
One of our blogfamily has died. This set of prayers is for Ben Pennington, and we grieve along with his dear wife, Lisa.
Lead pastor at Willow Creek, Gene Appel, mentioned this blog in his talk this weekend so I want to welcome Willow Creekers to the conversations that occur on this blog. A brief introduction to Jesus Creed: we talk about Jesus, […]
I speak this week at an InterVarsity Christian Fellowship event — and of all things it is being held within a mile of my home on the same street on which we make our abode. Title: How to talk about […]
A discipline central to seeing disciplines as community-shaped is “resting” or participating in Sabbath. Darryl Tippens’ 5th chp of Pilgrim Heart addresses this very topic.
I have been asked to speak at next year’s AEF Call (Nov 31-Dec 1) at Northern Seminary. What is the AEF Call about? It is a Call for evangelical Christians to embrace the history of the whole Church. Here is […]
What we read, what we listen to, what we watch — what fills our mind — makes us who we are. We become what fills our mind. So also the psalmist: “Your statutes are always righteous; give me understanding that […]
Alan Hirsch has a mission himself: to inspire Christians and churches around the globe to become missional. His book, The Forgotten Ways, traces the DNA of missional churches (mDNA). We’ve looked at two of the six ingredients — the centrality […]
I’ll be leading a discussion about the theology of emerging leaders — Dan Kimball, Doug Pagitt, John Burke, and Danielle Shroyer. Our event will be in Austin TX, April 27-28. After reading the book Listening to the Beliefs of Emerging […]
God is righteous. If God is righteous, there is hope in God. 142 Your righteousness is everlasting and your law is true.