Sorry that it's been a bit quiet on the blog lately - vacation last week and I'm in the middle of a fairly detailed review of Brian McLaren's The Secret Message of Jesus. I'm also working on a couple of projects at the church - I want to provide some clear expectations to our church community about what must take place in the life of our church before we build our first building, and I am also working on laying out a vision of what it looks like to be a mature Christian in our cultural context.
Some of you have mentioned wanting to be able to post material on here - either passing along news items or posting your own articles, reviews, etc. I'm very much open to that - if you're interested, let me know. I'm not looking for experts, but I will be picky about the biblical, theological, and missional content of what we post on here. So whether you're a member of Christ Church or live in New Zealand, let me know if you'd like to become part of the team here at the blog.
You might remember a couple of blog exchanges recently between Mark Driscoll and Brian McLaren, which began over Driscoll's frustration with McLaren's failure to clarify his personal belief regarding the legitimacy of homosexual behavior. Driscoll took a lot of flack over the tone of his response (although far fewer actually dealt with the legitimacy of his appeal to McLaren) and after some reflection that was instigated by the elders of his church as well as the board of his church planting ministry, Mark has issued a public apology to both McLaren and Doug Pagitt. You can read the entire apology here and read the comments here at the Out of Ur blog where the exchange originally took place. As I said in one of the comments, this should now clear the way for McLaren to clarify his position on an issue of no small cultural relevance.
I know that none of you spend your time watching American Idol, but on the off-chance that you do, you're not alone. One of my favorite writers and thinkers, Carl Trueman from Westminster Seminary in Philadelphia, not only watches the show, but has written a very insightful article on why so many people love Simon, Paula, Randy and all those wacky kids on the show.
Several years ago, I was at a conference where one of the speakers reminded us that the Christian life was wonderfully illustrated by thunder and lightning. In the same way that lightning always precedes thunder, the Christian life plays itself out in particular ways when that life is being lived out in maturity.
That reality was brought home while I've been on vacation and catching up on some reading I've been wanting to get to. I came down to lovely Orange Beach (which isn't so lovely this morning as its encased in fog and weather in the mid-40s) with about 6-7 books in tow, and then found a really great book down here that I had given to my granddad on Christmas of 2002 but had never read myself. As I've been working through these books (you can see the list on the 'On My Desk' sidebar), three books sort of melded together to create this really beautiful picture of the Christian life. And like thunder and lightning, the message of these three books needs to be seen in its proper place and order in our lives.
A sermon on Genesis 1:26-31 preached at Christ Church on Sunday, March 19 by Teaching Pastor Matt Adair
Greetings from beautiful, sunny Orange Beach, Alabama. Thanks so much to our church family in Watkinsville for giving Lindsey, Jonathan and me the chance to spend some time together this week. We're looking forward to getting Jonathan out to the beach and seeing how he and sand get along. We'll miss you and will be praying for you this week.
Last month, John Piper underwent surgery for prostate cancer and wrote, the night before his surgery, a brief article entitled "Don't Waste Your Cancer." It was John at his finest - a God-centered theology brought to bear on this very painful reality of life. What he said is what I would hope to say if and when I find myself facing some of life's greatest difficulties. It's my prayer for you - that when you face cancer or chronic pain or depression or divorce or a thousand other afflictions, that you might be able to say, "the Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord!" (Job 1:21).
This morning, I received news that another friend and mentor, David Powlison, has also been diagnosed with prostate cancer. David has graciously added his words to those of John and allowed the ladies over at the GirlTalk blog to post his expanded version of "Don't Waste Your Cancer." I would commend it to each of you. For some like me, this is what he hope to be able to say when pain and uncertainty come next week, next month, next year, next decade. For others of us, the pain and uncertainty are a present reality - it might not be cancer, but whatever it is that you're facing, insert it for cancer and use these words by two of the most godly and practical men that I know to help you see the love of God in your pain and the opportunity God has given you through it.
One of the unfortunate dichotomies that gets created in the church is an unnecessary choice between being passionate about Jesus and sports. This carries over into our thinking about how we as fathers raise our sons to pursue holiness - is such a desire out of sorts with the gospel? Is the fact that we enjoy UGA football or March Madness of the World Baseball Classic (ok, bad example there) evidence of nothing more than spiritual immaturity, or can we use sports (both in participation and in watching) to help our boys trust and treasure Christ? Our friend CJ Mahaneypasses along some very helpful examples from his relationship with his son, Chad, that remind us of the opportunity we have to intentionally shape the hearts, minds, and actions of our children. A definite must-read.
I'm working on our next sermon series on biblical masculinity and femininity and ran across this interview in the Wall Street Journal from a couple of weeks ago. A good way to prime the pump for our upcoming discussion on Sunday mornings...