Thursday, March 17, 2011

47 Minutes Well Spent

Matt Chandler is a favorite of this blog, and this past weekend he absolutely nailed it in his Sermon. Home Run in the bottom of the 9th in the playoffs--nailed it. Discipline or Wrath is his title as he preaches from Habbakuk, and a few other texts. If you've ever struggled with why God is doing what He's doing, or what the role of suffering is for a Christian. . . this might be the best sermon I've ever heard.

Also, if you're having character questions about God (something that's come up a bit lately in the whole heaven/hell debate), this is also a priceless sermon for you to listen to. I couldn't recommend it more highly. Do yourself a favor and carve out 47 minutes.

Questioning Matt's credentials to speak on such a topic? He has brain cancer, so none of this is theoretical, he's living it.

An Under-Reported Consequence of Universalism

I've been in alot of discussions about Rob Bell and Heaven/Hell/Ultimate Things lately. I'm sure many of you have as well. . . .Here is an under-reported consequence of holding the universalist belief from a blog favorite, Jared Wilson. I think this is pretty compelling because it is history. But, narrative is not normative, so we need more than that. Well, in addition to history this is compelling because the bible told us this would happen.

This "bigger" Jesus ironically makes for a smaller following. ...

I Timothy 4:3-4

3 For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Humility, Thy Name is Pop-a-shot. . . .and Other Observations from Chuck-e-Cheese

Today we celebrated Eden's 8th birthday party. To commemorate the occasion, we took her and 3 friends to that mecca of childhood bliss. . . . Chuck-e-cheese! (happy birthday Eden!!)

With a 10-year-old, 8, 6, and 3 . . . I've celebrated quite a few birthdays at this fine establishment. Typically it's a chance to assert my dominance over all pre-teens at pop-a-shot, you know, the mini-basketball, rapid fire game. I won't brag, but many records have been broken, (and set). . many small children have gawked in wonder at my mad fake basketball skills, . . and many shoulder cramps were felt for days afterwards.

That brings me to this evening. . . I approached the pop-a-shot machine to see that the high score was 120. This is a ridiculously high score for that particular machine. I thought to myself, "someone on staff cheated or something. . that's totally fake". To confirm my suspicions, my 2nd game I scored 75. I took a break, came back, and a small lady, probably in her 40's, was playing. This woman was not taller than 5'1''. I don't exaggerate when I say, . . she was a machine. She had a two-handed, under the chin, jumper (you know. . .a girl shot). She was unbelievable. I watched as this minute MJ scored 125, setting the new record.

Ok, . . my turn. I, of course, wasn't even close to her level. . . . . which made me feel pretty bad. But, not as bad as when her 6 year-old daughter started yelling "AIM AT THE SQUARE, AIM AT THE SQUARE". Yeah, thanks. . hadn't thought of that.

Hello, humility. I'll live to fight another day.

Other Observations:

1) I salute CEC's for the expanded menu. . .but really? Beer and wine on tap? I know being in the presence of 400 little, pizza fueled kids makes you want to get all "lit up" but really? One of the taps actually was labelled "chardonnay"!!? You're going to have wine with your low-grade pizza? Nothing says "it's 5-o-clock somewhere" like wine on tap at Chuck-e-cheese's.

2) CEC's has gone downhill since the infamous "CEC/Showbiz" merger/buyout in the 90's. Needless to say, when I was a kid, I used to get a full animatronic band, Fats Domino on the Fender rhodes, and a huge ball pit.(Can I get a witness?) Now I get one animatronic Chuck-e Mouse with a video wall looping disney-esque pop, and a fake horse ride. It's sad really.

3) Hey Miley Cyrus, we can do better than "noddin' my head like yeah. . . movin my hips like yeah". Come on, I don't care if it is a party in the USA. . maybe we should read some poetry in the USA or something. Chip off the old block, I guess. . . . We can do better, Miley, we can do better

4) How many generations of kids will it take to figure out, "I will never, ever be able to get enough tickets to purchase anything of value from the redemption desk". How many? I'm pretty sure the 2000 ticket stuffed bear at the top had a "1998" shirt on. Hadn't been won in a while, huh? The plastic-eraser frogs will have to do for this evening.

Until next time, Chuck-e. . .

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Spiritual Disintegration

I'm not sure if all 5 of you were aware of the controversy surrounding Rob Bell's soon-to-be released book, "Love Wins".

Bell sent out some sample chapters and an intro/video clip for influential folks to drum up interest in the book. Mission accomplished, Mr. Bell.

I've never seen the comment section on a blog pass the "999" mark. But, Justin Taylor's (oft-linked to on this blog) blog about the new book, as of last viewing, had 1,047 comments (the number didn't fit in the little graphic at the bottom of the post).

It seems Mr. Bell is going to take a few more steps away from orthodox Christianity with this one. He seems to be advocating a kind of soft universalism. . . where there is no hell or eternal judgment in the afterlife.

I'm not going to link to Taylor's post, because I don't want to bring anymore attention to a book that I think will be very harmful to many Christians, and non-Christians.

But, this brings up some thorny, tough issues for Christians to talk about. . .and one of the most helpful things I've ever read on hell is this one from Dr. Tim Keller. (sorry. . I know. . alot of Keller lately).

I (we) don't want to be seen as judgment-hounds who get excited about being right on the doctrine of hell. I certainly wish Mr. Bell and others of his ilk were right about this thing. But, I don't think you can get there from the Bible.

If you've struggled with the doctrine of hell, . . or even have struggled with how to put together what it would be like and how to describe it. . . read this piece. May truth come to bear on "Love Wins", and may few be deceived.