Category Archives: Theology

“The Sovereignty of God and September 11th”

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This is a message I preached on the 10th anniversary of 09-11-2001 and reflected on God’s goodness, power, love, and control, even in the midst of evil. You can listen to it here:

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Sermons that have Changed My Life #2: “You will be Eaten by Cannibals…” by John Piper

Paton

One of the first biographical sermons I had ever heard, but its impact still stays with me today. The life of John G. Patton is thoroughly inspiring. You can find this resource here:

http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/biographies/you-will-be-eaten-by-cannibals-lessons-from-the-life-of-john-g-paton

From Mormonism to Ministry

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So, here is my story of how I left Mormonism and became a Christian and subsequently went into Christian ministry. Special thanks to my friend Harold Thornbro for inviting me onto his Podcast (http://truckersgospelmission.org/). You can follow the link here:

http://truckersgospelmission.org/?p=349

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Today’s Book Recommendation: Rick Cornish’s Series “5 Minute…”

Listen everyone is a Theologian, but are we any good? Rich Cornish is deliberate in his attempts to help us become better Christian thinkers in shorter burst of time. As a Pastor I recommend this to Men and Women (Teens too) who are on the go. I recommend this link:

834832: 5-Minute Theologian: Maximum Truth in Minimum Time 5-Minute Theologian: Maximum Truth in Minimum Time
By Rick Cornish / NAV Press

What’s your theological IQ? Too embarrassed to say? Don’t feel bad. Millions of Christians are as intimidated by theology as you are.

Divided up into one hundred easy-to-understand readings, 5 Minute Theologian will help you gain a better grasp of God, grace, Satan, sin, election, and many other essential concepts of your faith. In three months, you can become dramatically more informed than the average Sunday churchgoer.

Theology isn’t something for just pastors to study. You also need to understand God’s Word and principles to protect you and your family against a barrage of half-truths and outright lies. This book will give you a maximum amount of truth with a minimum commitment of time.

Depeche Mode’s “Personal Jesus”

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“Reach out and touch faith

Your own personal Jesus Someone to hear your prayers Someone who cares Your own personal Jesus Someone to hear your prayers Someone who’s there…”

Depeche Mode’s “Personal Jesus” is one of those songs that have relevance for multiple reasons. Rhythmically the song is as contemporary now as it ever was, you might even say it was ahead of its time.

Lyrically the song was really pertinent at the time because it seemed in some ways to be a sort of backlash against the rise of the Tele-Evangelist in the late 1980s; at least there is a subtle reference to that in the language of the song, for example:

“Feeling unknown
And you’re all alone
Flesh and bone
By the telephone
Lift up the receiver
I’ll make you a believer”

Images of Jim & Tammy Fay Bakker or Jimmy Swaggart might especially come to mind as they were at the height of their ministry just before their subsequent falls at the time. However, the writers of the song weren’t simply addressing the TV preachers of their time, rather, they were addressing the individual needs of people to have a savior.

Think about it. The invoking of the name of Jesus calls to mind the divine and sacred—and it forces people to think of the significance of a savior LIKE Jesus, without having to really come to grips with THE SAVIOR Jesus. How did this come about? Well, according to a Rolling Stone article from years ago the biography, Elvis and Me, about Pricilla Presley’s life with her late husband Elvis had inspired the notion of Elvis as a kind of savior to Pricilla.

Searching out saviors isn’t foreign to our own personal story, some turn to drink, or drug, or sex, or to self-glorification. But then again some people turn to saviors who are either close family members or friends. Jesus even encountered this notion of making idols out of the people we love, for example in Luke 14, Jesus said:

Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.

Now harsher words may have never been spoken, but Jesus is using a method of argumentation to make a point. Jesus doesn’t mean we should hate one of the greatest gifts we have been given (that would mean breaking God’s Law), like friends and family. No, Jesus means that our love for the Person of Jesus should be so great in comparison to all other loves that it would almost seem like hatred to others by way of contrast.

Personal Jesus expresses a longing for a personal savior in fleshly form, for Pricilla Presley that may have been Elvis, for others it could be sports figures and other entertainment icons, or people in our family, or even our very children. People that we have not only looked to for inspiration but have actually placed our hopes, dreams, and aspirations upon; perhaps even putting them on a pedestal where you might even say they are worshipped.

But the Gospel tells us that the longing for a personal savior in fleshly form is found in no one else than Jesus Christ; God in the flesh, who became a person to be personally known. Depeche Mode’s Personal Jesus challenges believers to think about the idols that take human form but are mere shadows of what we find in Christ. And to unbelievers the song talks about the longing to be saved and rescued by a someone and to that we turn to another song from a different time and a different day, it goes like this:  

“We have heard the joyful sound: Jesus saves! Jesus saves! Spread the tidings all around: Jesus saves! Jesus saves! Bear the news to every land,Climb the steeps and cross the waves; Onward!—’tis our Lord’s command; Jesus saves! Jesus saves!

And not the Jesus that we create, but the Jesus who created creation and then became a person to be personally known. A.K.A. the word that became flesh (John 1:1-14).

Next time onR3Din the culture segment we will be taking on the Terminator franchise in something I am calling “John Connor and Jesus Christ: Terminator in Light of the Gospel”

 

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This Weeks Book Recommendation: “Who Needs Theology?” by Roger Olson and Stanley Grenz

whoneeds

I love this book and have read it multiple times in Bible study groups as I have mentored other men to learn to study theology. It is one of the first books I have thinking Christians read before they tread the waters of the deep (you know what they say, ‘C’mon man I want my Berkhof and I want it now,’ with really intense stare with the TULIP in their eyes and I’m like, ‘Chill out spawn of Calvin and read Roger Olsen for some balance’) and get them thinking about theological frameworks and categories.

This book is written in plain language so that everyone can understand that EVERYONE NEEDS THEOLOGY, BECAUSE EVERYONE…at least in some sense, is a THEOLOGIAN. The question that the drives the book is this: Do you have good theology or bad theology. Find the resource here:

Who Needs Theology?: An Invitation to the Study of God

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