Velvet Elvis Complete

Well, I finally finished reading Velvet Elvis. I know... some of you are wondering, "What took you so long?! The book's not that long!"

Ok, I was supposed to be reading it together with some friends who shall remain nameless (Chad and Wes), but whenever we got together to discuss the book, we never really discussed the book.

Don't get me wrong. We had great conversations--and many of them were deeply theological--they just didn't focus specifically on the book. So, I took my time reading the book, waiting to see if we were gonna discuss the chapters we had read.

Never happened. Or more accurately, rarely happened.

I got to the point where I just wanted to finish the book, and that's what I did a couple days ago.

I know that I've been a little hard on Rob Bell in the past (mostly in terms of how he comes across), but I have to admit that his theology really resonates with me. I've been listening to his sermons on the Mars Hill website and I'm always enlightened and/or convicted by the time I'm done listening.

While I don't necessarily want to be another Rob Bell, I do hope and pray that my own faith would continue to grow in the direction that God seems to be taking it--namely in the direction of truly living out the Gospel of Jesus not only in word, but also in deed. That is, in the way that I live my life in the world as a follower of Jesus. (Check out Ted's post for more of this in regard to Rob Bell.)

Thanks, Rob, for challenging me in that direction.


Ok Go - "Here it Goes Again"

Believe it or not, I've got another post!

I just wanted to say that I think it's really cool that Ok Go's video, "Here it Goes Again," was chosen by iTunes (in an e-mail I got--not sure where they say it online) as the best music video! Yesterday, I saw them do a live performance on their treadmills on MTV's VMA awards.

I just love the fact that they made it big because of YouTube! We've truly entered a new age--where the masses more than ever decide for themselves who makes it and who doesn't. And it doesn't take a lot of money.

One of the many great things about a wired world...

Here's Ok Go's original video. Notice the background behind the treadmills--it's a tarp! Way to go, low budget band!

Here's Ok Go's live performance on the VMA's (volume's a little low on this one). Cool that it's live, but I like the original video better. There's nothing like a music video with absolutely no edits!


It's 1:20 a.m. I just finished watching Bram Stoker's Dracula. Not as good as I was expecting, but basically an interesting movie.

Two days after Christmas, and I'm wondering where all my blogging went. Must have taken a vacation. I'm on vacation now, too--something I've needed for quite a while.

Maybe that's why I haven't been posting--just an overload of too many things going on in my life right now. See that picture? That's kinda how I feel lately. I'll fill you in on some of the details later.

Had four services on Sunday--one in the morning and three Christmas Eve services at night. Way too many for our church, but it was a little too late to change things when we realized it.

And though it was way too many services, and though I felt completely drained by the end of the night, I also felt energized. That's the beauty of ministry I think. It's tiring and draining and seems to suck the life out of you. But it doesn't. I've found that it also pours life into me. When I give what I have, I end up with more.

I'm not talking about money, by the way. I'm not into the health and wealth thing. But God does give when we give. Not always how we expect. But he does. It's what keeps me going. Thanks, Lord...

I've missed all of you. I'll be back. Hopefully sooner than later.


Christmas Busy

Aaarrgh!! I'm droughting again!

I don't know... Maybe it's just the busyness of the Christmas season.

Isn't that awful? Because of the busyness of Christmas, I can't do something that I really love doing (I'm talking about writing--uh...just to clarify).

I just don't think that's what God intended when He sent His Son into the world--to make my life busier....


Christians in "The Office"

Hey, this might be the end of the drought!

So, I've been watching "The Office" on DVD for the past few weeks. My wife and I are on Season 2 right now, and it was finally revealed that the character of Angela (Angela Kinsey) is a Christian.

Great!! Right?

Not really. Angela is the b**** in the office. She's no fun. Never smiles. Always wants to work. Makes everybody feel uncomfortable. Looks down on her co-workers. Tends to make snide comments.

At first, I was kinda ticked off by this. "Oh, great! There goes Hollywood, making us Christians look bad again!"

But then I thought, "Actually, this is probably how they really view most of us. And we need to learn from this."

And why do people view us as judgmental, uninspiring, and full of contempt. Sadly, I suspect it's because that's how a lot of Christians are--that's at least the impression I would get as a non-Christian watching this video:

Blogging Drought

Yikes! It's been like a week since my last post! I'm not sure what's going on, but it seems like I'm in a bit of a dry spell right now. I've got some more stuff to say about the hospitality/incarnation thing, but it seems like every time I think about writing, I think to myself, "Eh, I'd rather just watch TV...."

Man, that kinda sucks...

Anyway, hopefully I'll get back on the bandwagon real soon.


Free Church Planting Conference

Aaron Klinefelter informed me on Monday about a free church planting conference in New York. It's called The Launch Conference, and, yes, it really is free! Or it's $35.00 if you pay at the door--but that's still a great deal!

The conference will be January 22-23, 2007, and will feature Nelson Searcy (Lead Pastor of The Journey Church in Manhattan) and Kerrick Thomas (Executive Pastor of The Journey Church), who co-authored the book Launch: Starting a New Church from Scratch.

Mark Driscoll Protest Cancelled

A few weeks ago I questioned whether it was a good idea to protest against Mark Driscoll regarding some comments he made following the Ted Haggard debacle (read that post here).

Well, there's been a promising development. Those who called for the protest actually got the chance to sit down with Driscoll and it sounds like they had a really good conversation. Driscoll apologized for using inflammatory language, and those who called for the protest apologized for using inflammatory language against Driscoll.

Helen at Conversation at the Edge has a brief summary of the meeting, including her own apology to Mark Driscoll. (I found the links below on this site.)

Here are the blog posts of several of those who were in that meeting, including Driscoll himself:
As you can read in the People Against Fundamentalism post, the protest against Mark Driscoll has been called off. I'm really encouraged to hear that a peaceful and conciliatory--not to mention biblical--resolution has been found.


Hospitality in the New Testament

Holy moly!! This is the longest break I've taken from posting in a long time! I guess it's just been a busy week. I'll fill you in on what's been going on another time...

For now, I just want to add a few thoughts in my series on hospitality and incarnation. Today's thoughts: hospitality in the New Testament.

So, first of all, we can see that Jesus puts a lot of emphasis on hospitality. We see it in the story of the Good Samaritan. We see it in the story of Lazarus and the Rich Man. We see it in the story of the Great Banquet. And we see it in Jesus' teachings about the Sheep and the Goats.

Hospitality is huge for Jesus.

In the New Testament, we also start to see hospitality in a lot of different ways.

  1. Jesus as Guest - John 1:10-11 tells us that Jesus came into a world that neither recognized him nor received him. He came as a stranger into our world and our world showed no hospitality. However, "to those who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God" (John 1:12). Those who show Christ hospitality by welcoming him into their midst and into their lives become a part of God's family.
  2. Christians as Guests - As Christians, we know that we were once alienated from God. We were separated from God. And God showed us hospitality by welcoming us (Ephesians 2:12). At the same time, when we are welcomed by God, we become strangers and aliens in the world--a place where we are shown little or no hospitality (1 Peter 2:11).
  3. Christians as Hosts - Because we, as Christians, know what it is, first and foremost, to be aliens in relation to God, and, secondly, to be aliens in relation to the world, it is our calling to welcome into our midst those who are in the world. Romans 12:13 tells us to "Practice hospitality." But not only that, "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink" (Romans 12:20) Christians are to show hospitality to everyone--even our enemies!
Now here's the problem.

How many churches in our country are so inward-focused that new people are completely ignored? Tons, I imagine!

And which churches are these? It's the churches who say things like, "Well, we may be small, but we have great fellowship."

Sure, they have great fellowship--but only with each other. I recently heard of a Methodist church in the Cincinnati area that actually stopped having new member classes because they decided they didn't want anyone else in their church.

That's one of the worst things I've ever heard! In fact, I believe it's sinful.

Our churches must grow in their show of hospitality. Without it, I don't believe the church is truly being the church.