Category Archives: my stuff

Questions To Help See What I Really Worship…

Last Wednesday I gave a talk on worship to the kiddos at Brookside. They requested that I post this list of questions somewhere public. I thought I was done with the blog… but this is the best place to make these public… here you go.

Sin isn’t only doing bad things, it is more fundamentally making good things into ultimate things. Sin is building your life and meaning on anything, even a very good thing, more than on God. Whatever we build our life on will drive us and enslave us. Sin is primarily idolatry.” – Tim Keller

Questions for helping you find out what you make into “ultimate things (Yes, I totally got this idea from Tim Keller as well):

  1. What are you most afraid of?
  2. What gets you really excited?
  3. Where do you run when upset? (Or, what makes you feel better when angry/sad/bored?)
  4. What do you complain about most?
  5. What angers you most?
  6. What makes you the most happy?
  7. How do you define yourself when talking to people?
  8. What has causes you to be “angry” with God? (Or, what causes you to think that God does not care/love about you?)
  9. What do you brag about?
  10. What one thing do you want to accomplish?
  11. What do you sacrifice for?
  12. What do you spend your money on?
  13. If you could change one thing about your life, what would it be?
  14. Who’s approval are you seeking? Is it anyone other than Jesus?
  15. What comfort(s) do you treasure the most?
  16. What do you “day dream” about?
  17. When are you most bored? (Or, What do you think of doing when you are bored?)
  18. What makes you feel cool?
  19. What makes you feel like your ugly?
  20. What do you think you have to have to “fit in?”
  21. What makes you most upset if it is taken away?
  22. What makes you act differently?
  23. What if you get it makes you a joy to be around?
  24. What if it is taken away makes you a burden to be around?

The Bible is Full of Contradictions?

You may have heard the old argument about “Bible contradictions.”  This argument has of course been shot full of holes, answered, and refuted thousands of times. But since the New Atheism movement likes to take old arguments and make them sound and look new (i.e. cool charts, angry blog rants, and scholarly sounding arguments), people are still running around (like my Profs at school) thinking they have figured out the ultimate argument against the Bible.  Most recently, Sam Harris and Fast Company have made a chart about Bible contradictions. But anybody with a little sagacity can see that it is a old argument with a new skin.

Chart on Bible Contradictions (439 lines)…

Infografic on Bible cross-references (over 60,000 lines).

“This cross-reference chart does not prove the Bible is not filled with contradictions, but it is a graphic representation of the unity, harmony, and consistency of the Bible.”

Here are some helpful resources if you want to refute the Bible contradiction argument, or here are some things to think about Bible naysayers:

The Bible is Very Consistent By Justin Holcomb

Why Fast Company and Sam Harris Need to do Their Homework By Justin Holcomb

A Few Thoughts on the Fast Company Article, “What the Bible Got Wrong” By Matt Perman

Ignorance is more concerning than religion By Simon Smart (Not directly about this issue, but good thoughts)

A Little Thing Called Context By Doug Wilson

Up and Running…

Well, after a long break I am back to posting here on the blog… so for the few people that actually check my blog, thanks for waiting.

Not Enough Time…

If you have checked my blog lately you have probably noticed that I have not posted much recently. This is because I am in college and it is end of semester time. That means finals, papers, projects etc, etc, etc. So the blog takes a back seat for these couple of weeks. Don’t worry, I am keeping tabs on some cools stuff that I find around the web. I will begin posting all sorts of stuff when this semester is over and done with (praise God!). But if you are bored go check out the “archives!” I have posted a couple hundred things in the past year, so that should keep you busy for awhile.  The only thing that I will try to update is the ongoing news concerning Matt Chandler. He is totally worth taking the time to update the blog! I will be up and running again in a few days…

Wish I was here again… contemplating how awesome God is… while staring at the ocean… but thank God that I can have memories like this!

Communist China Turns 60…

Tomorrow China “celebrates” the day it became a communist country.  For a reason that I cannot figure out; the Empire State Building is even commemorating this.  Having recently been to China, I praise God for it (not that I did not praise God for China before, but before I went I cannot say I actually thought about China that much). China is very beautiful, the people are extremely interesting,  and the Gospel is spreading like wildfire. But, since China has been adopting a more “western” type of business model and culture, people from the west often forget that China is still one of the most notorious countries for abuse cases. This especially includes abuses and persecution towards Chinese Christians and Chinese Christian Churches. (To read more click this: Voice of the Martyrs-China).

As you see China in the news tomorrow, remember the persecuted church in your prayers. But also thank God that despite the persecution, the gospel continues to spread.

Hero Worship??

I have recently been blessed with the opportunity to see, hear, and even hang out with some of the coolest people ever (Gospel Coalition, RZIM Summer School). I have always, in the back of my head, had a fear of being “that guy” when I see these “heroes of the faith”. “That guy” is exactly like you imagine… the guy that is more into saying that he knows certain people rather than actually knowing them. He is the guy that is more into getting noticed by his opinion, life, smarts, ministry, etc. than actually wanting to serve and learn from his fellow believers. Recently I found this article on John Piper’s blog… it is something to think about (especially for me). I am truly thankful to God for blessing my life through these men and women, yet at the same time I desperately pray that I am not “that guy”.

From blog

Hero Worship and Holy Emulation

By John Piper June 10, 2009

I have unanswered questions about how to navigate the new world of media-driven celebrity attention to pastors. As Advance09 started in Durham, North Carolina, the News & Observer ran the headline “Celebrity Pastors Visit for Conference.” One might wish they had printed: “Imperfect, Passionate Pastors Come to Serve.” But that’s not news.

When I say media-driven attention, I am not mainly thinking about radio, TV, and newspapers. They are almost irrelevant. I mean Internet media. Most churches have websites. Sermons and articles and books are available. Often there is audio and video. Recently, for example, John MacArthur and Alistair Begg joined many others, including Desiring God, in making their online audio sermons free.

What happens then is that anywhere in the world people can read, watch, or listen. If they are helped, they can click in order to share it immediately with others anywhere in the world, who in turn share it again. This is what is meant by viral spreading.

Tens of thousands of linkings may take place almost instantly—through blogs, Twitter, texting, Facebook, and a dozen other sharing tools. This means that what a pastor does or says may be known in hours by hundreds of thousands of people around the world. This contributes to media-driven celebrity status.

Then stir into the mix that some pastors write books. There is a mystique about authors. “Author” connotes authority, or creativity, or wisdom. Authors are generally thought to be interesting people. I think very often these conceptions are not true. But for some, the fact that an author writes is more significant than what he writes.

What is the meaning of the attention given to well-known pastors? What does the desire for autographs and photographs mean? The negative meaning would be something akin to name-dropping. Our egos are massaged if we can say we know someone famous. You see this on blogs with words like “my friend Barack” and the like. And I presume that, for some, an autograph or a photo has the same ego-boost.

However, I don’t assume the worst of people. There are other possible motives. We will see this below. But it is good to emphasize that all of this is more dangerous to our souls than bullets and bombs. Pride is more fatal than death.

When I say “our souls” I mean all of us—the signature-seeker, the signer, and the cynic who condemns it all (on his very public blog). There is no escaping this new world. The question is, How do we navigate it for the glory of Christ, the crucifixion of self, the spread of truth, the deepening of faith, and the empowering of sacrificial love?

Here is one small contribution. In spite of all the legitimate warnings against hero worship, I want to risk waving a flag for holy emulation—which includes realistic admiration. Hero worship means admiring someone for unholy reasons and seeing all he does as admirable (whether it’s sin or not). Holy emulation, on the other hand, sees evidences of God’s grace, and admires them for Christ’s sake, and wants to learn from them and grow in them.

This theme is strong in the New Testament.

  • “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1).
  • “Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us” (Philippians 3:17).
  • “What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you” (Philippians 4:9).
  • “And you became imitators of us and of the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 1:6).
  • “[Do] not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises” (Hebrews 6:12).
  • “You, however, have followed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness” (2 Timothy 3:10).
  • “Continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it” (2 Timothy 3:14).
  • “Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity” (Titus 2:7).

The old Puritan Thomas Brooks comments on holy emulation in The Secret Key to Heaven:

Bad men are wonderfully in love with bad examples…. Oh, that we were as much in love with the examples of good men as others are in love with the examples of bad men.

Shall we love to look upon the pictures of our friends; and shall we not love to look upon the pious examples of those that are the lively and lovely picture of Christ? The pious examples of others should be the mirrors by which we should dress ourselves.

He is the best and wisest Christian…that imitates those Christians that are most imminent in grace…. It is noble to live by the examples of the most eminent saints. (12-13)

It is right and risky to aim at being worthy of emulation. It is more foundationally right to aim at being helpful. It is essential in both that we be amazed that we are forgiven through Christ, and that we serve rather than seek to be served.

This does not answer all my questions about navigating these waters, but it helps.

Always in need of your prayers,

Pastor John

I am back…

Have not been able to really keep up with the blog here in a couple of weeks (mission trip, sickness, away from a computer)… well that is about to change because I am back… so for the five people that check my blog here you go… thanks….