Tomorrow night I will be starting a new sermon series at LifeSign called the Journey to Eternity. My hope is to offer a fresh perspective on eternal life that is more faithful to what the Bible actually teaches than the depictions of eternal life in popular Christian discourse which have created so many stumbling blocks for people who are seeking God’s truth with sincerity. Continue reading
I figured it might be good for my hits to push back against an exegetically questionable pot-shot taken at what has been called “Red Letter Christianity” which generated reverberations here and here. As many of you know, I contribute frequently to a website called Red Letter Christians. The guys behind this site, Tony Campolo and Shane Claiborne, have recently written a book called Red Letter Revolution (which likely prompted the sniper fire). The concept of Red Letter Christianity is to turn our attention back to the words that are attributed to Jesus (which are colored red in some Bibles). Whether you were aware of this or not, most of the teaching in American evangelical Christianity today actually comes from Paul’s New Testament letters instead of Jesus. In particular, the book of Romans has been paved over the whole of scripture like a giant road that smothers the other voices within the Biblical text. One task of Red Letter Christianity is to jack-hammer into this concrete and liberate Jesus from underneath it. Continue reading
Earlier this year, during Lent, I preached without a manuscript for the first time. My preparation process shifted to oral rehearsal after a lot of note-scribbling. This past weekend, after having a very rich but exhausting spirit-filled week, I preached for the first time without rehearsing in advance. I don’t want to say I didn’t prepare, because God gave me a lot of things to think and talk about that came out in my sermon, but the delivery was extemporaneous. I’m not sure whether this will happen every week, but it was a very interesting experience. Listen to the following link and tell me what you think. God bless!
In contemporary Christian worship, a distinction is often made between worship that is “really worship” versus “just a performance.” For example, does the music invite authentic congregational participation or is it filled with guitar solos, pyrotechnics, and fog machines that make the service a concert that gives people goose bumps for cheap manufactured reasons? I want to look at a different contrast between worship and performance that I see at the heart of the gospel. I believe we were created to worship every moment of every day. The purpose of gathering to sing and pray and learn each weekend is merely to retune ourselves for a week of worship. The problem is that we misunderstand what worship means: we think it’s performing for God, putting on a show to prove to Him that we really believe in Him so that He won’t throw us in hell. But performance is actually the greatest obstacle to true worship, the definition of which is summarized in a single verse — Psalm 37:4: “Delight in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.” It’s not hard to learn how to worship; my three year old son knows perfectly how. The impossible challenge that Jesus died on the cross to make possible is unlearning performance. Continue reading