Saturday, December 21, 2013


Comic Art


Friday, December 20, 2013


Understanding Leadership

Even when he is right - he gets there the wrong way. That is certainly how I feel about Al Mohler's piece on leadership. Let's start with the right part:
The bottom line is this – we are merely stewards, not lords, of all that is put into our trust. The sovereignty of God puts us in our place, and that place is in God’s service.

The Steward: The Real Meaning of Servant Leadership

The biblical concept of a steward is amazingly simple and easy to understand. The steward is one who manages and leads what is not his own, and he leads knowing that he will give an account to the Lord as the owner and ruler of all.
Leadership is about stewardship, not lordship. I could not agree more. What you re leading, from a company to a small group, you do not lead it for your own self-aggrandizement, but you lead as a servant.

Now for the wrong part:
Christian leaders are called to convictional leadership, and that means leadership that is defined by beliefs that are transformed into corporate action. The central role of belief is what must define any truly Christian understanding of leadership. This means that leadership is always a theological enterprise, in the sense that our most important beliefs and convictions are about God.


It means that God rules over all space and time and history. It means that God created the world for his glory and directs the cosmos to his purpose. It means that no one can truly thwart his plans or frustrate his determination. It means that we are secure in the knowledge that God’s sovereign purpose to redeem a people through the atonement accomplished by his Son will be fully realized. And it also means that human leaders, no matter their title, rank, or job description, are not really in charge.
Sound reasoning and he is certainly right about God's sovereignty, but to cast the issue of leadership as a theological one, where our accountability is to God is to for a recipe for trouble. Leadership as a steward is a character matter, not necessarily a theological one. The reason is simple. I am certainly accountable to God in matters of personal ethics, etc., but when it comes to leading an organization I am accountable to the Board and those that the organization serves before I am accountable to God.

Example: I think, theologically, we are called to excellence. To do as thorough and complete a job as possible. So, let's say I run a furniture manufacturer. The best furniture is made of solid hard wood. If I follow the theological mandate for excellence, then I would build furniture out of hardwood. Problem - hardwood costs a fortune. I would sell like 3 pieces of furniture to the very wealthy if that is what I did. The Board is going to want tot make more money than that, so good stewardship, based on accountability to the Board, not the Bible, says I am going to build from lesser materials, provided I do not endanger or overcharge the customer.

Paul commanded slaves to obey their masters, even if their masters were not believers. By setting up God as the theological point of accountability, Mohler short circuits that little bit of apostolic advice.

It matters how you get there.


Friday Entertainment

Thursday, December 19, 2013


What Did God Promise?

Adrian Warnock wonders "Can a Christian get depressed?":
The first question, today, is incredibly easy to answer. Can a Christian get depressed? The answer is a resounding, YES.


The Christian does not merely accept depression as an inevitable part of life. He recognizes it as an alien invasion, like sin and all other sicknesses. He fights it with all his might. But he can and should seek help from others. And he should know that for the Christian, depression will one day be defeated. And so, we pray, “Lord do today what you have promised that you will one day do!”
Warnock, being a mental health professional, places a lot of emphasis on the illness aspects of depression and on seeking help from others when suffering. Fair enough, but for a guy that is very charismatic, I find it fascinating that he does not talk of the fact that depression is, in a very real sense, spiritual warfare. It's commonality is evidence of the very forces that are at war within the human spirit. It is a condition both of mind/emotion and of our spirits. Anti-depressants and counseling can and do help with the metal/emotional aspects of the problem, but they are not getting near the spiritual ones.

I have suffered with depression in my life. I did "all the right things" to get over it. But only when I laid it at the feet of the Throne of Grace did it get better. Only when I quit worrying about how I felt and how lousy the world was and relied on God's grace did the counseling have any effect. Only when I relied on God to heal me and not the mental health professionals did any healing occur.

It is, I believe, a sin to over materialize things likes depression. We cannot heal ourselves, only God can.


Iluminated Scripture

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Wednesday, December 18, 2013


The Sweetest Words

Mark Roberts:
Psalm 32 expresses David’s joy in experiencing the freedom of God’s forgiveness. But, for a while, David did not rejoice because he refused to confess his sin (v. 3). God’s tough but gracious discipline brought David to the point that he laid everything before the Lord without holding back. He stopped trying to hide his guilt from God (v. 5). The result of his full confession was God’s forgiveness, which led to David’s rejoicing: “Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sin is put out of sight!” (v. 1).
Who would think that some of the sweetest words David could speak were "I confess...." Our world today seems to think those are the worst possible words a human can speak. And yet from them flows freedom and joy.

Mark concludes his thoughts on Psalm 32:
Often, the very sins that haunt us the most are the ones we have the hardest time confessing. Our shame over our failure keeps us from telling God the truth of what we have done. Yet, by the power of his Spirit, when we are set free to be honest about our worst offenses, then we are finally able to know the transforming power of divine forgiveness. We can experience in real-time the truth of 1 John 1:8-9: “If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.” From all wickedness! Now that's what I call good news.
What a radically different world this would be if the church chose to approach confession as a source of joy. Sometimes I long for a church that would do so.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013


Maybe It Is Not What You Think

Mark Roberts:
To be sure, it is wonderful to be saved in this way. But, from a biblical perspective, God's salvation is more inclusive. We who are saved by God's grace begin to experience God's shalom—peace and wholeness, live as it was meant to be—now, even as we anticipate the fullness of shalom that is reserved for the future. (As we'll see in the second half of Ephesians 2, salvation transforms, not just individuals, but also our relationships and the social order of our world.)

The good news embedded in the verb "to be saved" is that God is at work in you, mending your brokenness, healing your wounds, helping you to be the whole person he intends you to be. God wants you to experience life in greater abundance and to work through you to foster wholeness in this world, even as you await the joy of Heaven.
How many of us refuse to appropriate this broader view of "salvation?" How many churches, knowing so many do not want the broader view acquiesce to the narrow view in the name of "spreading the news?" Is the news spread if all we spread is the narrow view?

But what really bothers me is that a church focused on spreading the narrow view cannot make room for the broader view somewhere - it will not work to promote those that seek the broader view. IT feels it "success" at risk if there are those in their number that are too radical at this whole faith thing. I wonder at that point if ti is a communication strategy or an avoidance mechanism?


Kitty Kartoons

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Monday, December 16, 2013


Learning? From a Pope!?

A post at Out of Ur ended this way:
I never thought I’d say this, but I hope more and more of us American pastors can begin to be more and more like the Pope.
I am grateful to see the author of this post "coming around" as it were, but really, "I never thought I'd say this"?!?!?!? As I have spent the last few years deep in the bowels of religious bigotry in this nation, anti-Catholicism has been the one that has most surprised me. I honestly did not understand how many Americans find the Roman Catholic Church not merely theologically wrong, but evil and an enemy. Lord have mercy, it has been 400 years since the Reformation, is it really so hard to come around to the fact that maybe, just maybe, that church has grown with the rest of us.

Much of my shock has come as I have discovered the Evangelical side of things. I have always been a mainliner. Yes, quite active in the parachurch, but always viewed that as adjunct to the church, yet in Evangelicalism I have discovered that the parachurch has become, in the eyes of many, the church. Within the mainlines I never really experienced the kind of blind disgust towards all things Catholic that one finds in the Evangelical church. I guess I never really knew a lot of baptists, nor do I think they are really mainliners.

The thing that bothers me is that this seems really to be about a simple power struggle. Which church will "win?" And what I find most distressing in that notion is that we seem to rely on our distaste and disagreement more than we rely on the power of the Holy Spirit to convince and the ability of God to make what we think is wrong right. Going back to what I talked about yesterday it is more as if we are concerned with God validating our flavor of Christianity than we are with saving souls and improving lives.

I wonder what God is more concerned about.

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