Showing posts from February, 2011

There's An App 4 That Week 8 - "Gentleness"

This week I am preaching the eighth part of a nine-part sermon series on the Fruit of the Spirit .  This is officially the longest sermon series I have ever preached.  But it really has gone by quickly, and gauging from the number of sermon CDs that have disappeared from our shelves, lots of people seem to be digging it.   I know that this series has landed on me more than once.  I kind of see this whole series as an antidote to the "get Christian quick" books that fill Christian bookstores.  Rather than searching for quick and easy steps to be "better" Christians, I am pretty sure that what God desires for us is to simply be in a relationship with His Son, Jesus.  And when we are in that right relationship with Christ---one that is up close and personal---we demonstrate evidence that we are "walking" with Him.  The Apostle Paul called that evidence "The Fruit of the Spirit."  All of the aspects of the fruit that Paul wrote about are the way

There's an App For That - Week 6 "Goodness"

This week I am continuing my sermon series on the Fruit of the Spirit by teaching on "goodness." When people I encounter find out that I am a pastor they tend to broach at least one of a few subjects during the course of our conversation.  They are as follows: "I used to go to church... but now I don't" "I was raised___________, but now I'm___________" "I'm a spiritual person." "I think that all 'good' people go to heaven." From time to time I will also have conversations with people about why their church/denomination is better than mine, but those are growing more rare. Sometimes I will find myself engaging all four of the subjects I mentioned in one conversation.  I have found that most people want assurances that whatever it is that they are believing is working and will work out for them "in the end."  And generally, most of us see ourselves as "good" people. Jesus said somethi

The Vast Left Wing Conspiracy? Why S.E. Cupp Believes The Liberal Press Is Out to Banish God

S.E. Cupp believes that a revolution is happening all around us in America--a revolution that is being waged against the vast majority of Americans by a very small group of liberal "elites."  It is a bloodless, quiet, smarmy sort of revolution where faith, God, religion and especially Christianity are systematically being targeted for removal from the public sphere.  In her newest book Losing Our Religion: the Liberal Media's Attack on Christianity , Cupp makes a strong case against the liberal "mainstream" media and what she believes is it's quest to secularize America.  Cupp is a fixture on the cable news circuit, appearing on MSNBC , CNN, C-SPAN and the Fox News Channel .  she is a nationally published political columnist, and an online columnist for the New York Daily News.   She's also an atheist.  So why would an atheist write a book in defense of religion?  Well, perhaps Mike Huckabee , former of governor of Arkansas, presidential candidat

Fall To Grace - A Review of Jay Bakker's Newest Release

Jay Bakker knows what he's talking about when he says in the introduction of his latest book, "I've been around churches my whole life, yet I didn't discover grace--true grace, revolutionary grace--until I was twenty years old." Jay Bakker knows what he's talking about because he's the son of Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker , pioneers of televangelism and founders of the now infamous PTL Network .  The PTL Network at it's height in the 1980's broadcast into millions of homes around the world.  The Bakkers fell from grace when Jim was accused of, and admitted to infidelity with a staff member.  He was eventually convicted of fraud when it was discovered that PTL was selling more time shares than they actually had at their huge Heritage USA Christian resort. Jay went from being a Christian media darling as the young son of TV's 1st Christian family to a virtual pariah, who was made fun of in his schools and church youth groups.  Jay r

The Way Forward for The PC(USA): A Modest Proposal

I would be remiss if I didn't include--along with my assessment of the recent "Open Letter to the PC(USA) "--a proposal for a way forward that might serve as a compromise from the band-aid removal method the Open Letter seems to espouse. But first, I need to say a few things about why the change is needed.  Our denomination (in it's previous forms) did not used to be so bogged down with bureaucracy and bureaucrats.  I've written elsewhere that the Book of Order used to fit in a shirt pocket.  So what happened?  Here's my Readers Digest version:  The bureaucrats in the church created larger and larger sets of rules and regulations each and every year.  They then fashioned departments, divisions and branches of government to "support" what they created.  As a result, they became the de facto experts on all things Presbyterian.  Now they spend an inordinate amount of money and energy convincing the rest of us that we can't possibly do w

Response to "An Open Letter To the PC(USA)"

Image via Wikipedia I have been reading and re-reading An Open Letter to the Presbyterian Church (USA) that was recently released by an as-yet-unnamed "Fellowship" of PC(USA) pastors.   It begins thusly: To say the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is deathly ill is not editorializing but acknowledging reality.  Over the past year, a group of PC(USA) pastors has become convinced that to remain locked in unending controversy will only continue a slow demise, dishonor our calling, and offer a poor legacy to those we hope will follow us.  First, I have to say that I agree with that statement wholeheartedly--as much as it pains me to say it.  I have been a Presbyterian for nearly twenty years, served on staff at three different PC(USA) churches and have been an ordained minister of the Word and Sacrament in the PC(USA) for the past six years.  In those twenty years, I have seen our denomination continue to decline, continue to splinter and continue to stumble blindly toward i