My draft thoughts

Great post on the Draft Ryan. That was probably the most exciting draft I have ever see. Some random responses to your post:

– I agree that the draft wasn’t as big as people made it seem. One reporter even said it was deeper than 2003. WTF? 2003 had Lebron, Carmelo, Wade, Bosh,Hinrich, Ridinour, David West (underrated), Boris Diaw, Leandro Barbosa (drafted by the Spurs by the way, how do they always do that?), Josh Howard, Luke Walton, and Jason Kapono.

– I will say that you brought up a good point about Corey Brewer being overrated, if you expect him to be a star. See if you expect every lottery (or first round pick if your team doesn’t have a lottery pick) to be a star, then this draft will surely dissapoint you. However, this draft is loaded with role players, hustlers, and guys who will flat out have long shelf lives. Some people are so stuck on projecting stardom onto draft picks that they either set this draft up to be the biggest bust ever (by expecting there to be at least 10 superstars) or they see only 3-4 possible stars and call it a bust.

Personally, I loved the quality of the draft. Think about it, there was only 1 lottery pick that was picked purely for his upside (Wright, although you could make a case for Yin). When is the last time that number was this low? When was the last time a guy was picked #5 becuase he was a proven scorer with a knack for winning over a freshman who could jump out of the building but thinks he should rule the world without trying? In many ways this draft shows the NBA scouts moving back towards what Paxson and the Bulls have proven for the past 5 years: use common sense when drafting. I am very excited for the direction this will take the NBA.

– Good call on Nick Young. I honestly believe he slipped this far becuase he had a creepy faux-hawk for years and scarred NBA execs. I’m not joking. The Hornets will be fun to watch next year.

– I disagree with you on Stuckey. I actually think he has the potential to be a good scorer in the leauge, and he’s got a great environment to work in at Detroit. Too many people let the Darko stink bomb override many great draft picks Dumars has taken over the last few years (which you could argue were stimulated by not wanting to pull a Darko again). I like Stuckey based on Dumars ability to see talent, but then again, he does have huge blind spots.

– This years “Most-Likely to End Up on Oliver Miller’s all Fat-Boy team” is Glen “Big Baby” Davis. But wait, Doc Rivers is a hard nosed discipline coach who can keep him off the Big Macs, right? Oh, wait he isn’t? Sorry Bill, the Sonics bent you over. Hey speaking of the Sonics…

How are they not getting credit for having the best draft night of everyone. Let’s recap what they were able to do:

1. Get the best player in the draft.
The image “https://i0.wp.com/seattlepi.nwsource.com/dayart/aponline/65256.03NBA-Draft-Basketball.sff.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.
2. Get rid of a 32 year-old 2 guard who is guaranteed $14 million over the next three years for:
   – The #5 draft pick! A proven scorer, who wins, makes his teammates    better, and is extremely clutch
   – A young point guard who hasn’t hit his ceiling for potential
   – Freddie Prince Jr.
3. Get a guy who averaged a double-double in the Big-Ten

Of all they did was get Kevin Durrant, they still had the best draft of any team. But they did so much more. Personally, I think they shouldn’t re-sign Lewis, save cap-room, and trade Wilcox, Wilkins, and Ridinour for Brad Miller and Mike Bibby. That trade helps both teams immediately. Oh my gosh, I’m turning into Bill Simmons.

Matt

Powered by ScribeFire.

Joakim Noah and some other thoughts on the 2007 NBA Draft

Here is the current background on my laptop.

This has to be hands down one of the greatest photos I have ever seen. First Joakim is going to be incredibly entertaining player for the Chicago Bulls. Even if he is not very good he will always be good for a quote and some off the wall foible. Second,David Stern’s face is classic, it is a mixture between wow this guy’s two fingers are bigger than my head, and this is not what I had in mind when I instituted the new NBA dress code. The only real comment I have about the Bulls drafting Joakim Noah is that it is further signs that when Kobe Bryant sets the Staples Center on fire the Bulls will be the most able to pull of the big trade and bring him to the Chicago Bulls. Think about it, Joakim Noah will be the perfect replacement for when the Bulls have to send Ben Wallace out to the Lakers, you watch its going to happen.

Few More Thoughts

1. Corey Brewer is over-rated. I know he is a good defender but he is skinner than Kevin Durant and has limited offensive capabilities. I could be wrong about this one but I think he is a poor man’s Bruce Bowen, except with a nicer smile.

2. Nick Young will be a star. He is going to the Hornets which will put him in the same backcourt with Chris Paul, giving him the chance to play with one of the best pure point guards in the league. Tyson Chandler is a defensive/rebounding artist that will provide plenty of second chance opportunities for Young to score. This is seriously one of the best situations for a young talented shooting guard to wind up in.

3. Glen “Big Baby” Davis will either eat himself out of the league, or everyone will discover that his vertical would barely get him over a phone book. I think he is a nice guy or “high character” as this is the hot buzz word right now, but he is just not an NBA type player. Sorry to break it to you Bill Simmons.

4. The draft was not as deep as everyone kept saying it was. when Rodney Stuckey is getting picked at #15 you know that you are not witnessing a deep draft. The only reason I remember him getting picked there is because one of the announcers called him a “poor man’s Dwayne Wade.” Which I think this analysis might be a little to kind. Time will tell.

Well if anyone is an NBA fan besides Matt, feel free to leave your thoughts on what you thought of the draft.  Ohh and one more photo of Joakim Noah that you have to see.  If anyone can tell me what it is he is wearing I would be grateful.

Continue reading

Desiring God Pick’s

First off this is a great example of a ministry truly putting their money where their mouth is. It is refreshing I imagine for many of us younger guys (and gals) who can be quite cynical about the use of money in ministries and their true motives, to see Desiring God take a loss (which they will on this sale) in order to get good books into people’s hands. So thank you Desiring God for doing this, it speaks very loud of your true intentions and mission. Here is what I would (or am going to) buy.

This book pastorally speaking, is wonderful for pastor’s to have on hand to give out or go through with Christians who are looking for “purpose.” It is classic Piper and is a great place to begin with for those who have not read much of his other stuff. Or it is a good book for those who might be a little intimidated by his larger more loquacious volumes.

Another book that deals with purpose. This book can best be used as a devotional, or even in some type of small group. But for those who are ready and called to lay down their lives and surrender their existence to Jesus are wise to closely heed the imperatives that he places upon his disciples. As we call him Rabbi and try to emulate him we should be clear and knowledgeable of what it is that he demands we do. Read this book.

Have not read this book, but I have listened to all the audio from the conference that it was produced out of. But what is not to like? A book that deals with sex and the supremacy of Jesus now that just has to be titillating. And if the conference sessions are close are anything like the chapters of this book it is worth your time.

Honestly just about everything they have is good stuff. The other Wayne Grudem book “Biblical Foundations of Manhood and Womanhood” is also a winner. So rather than highlight their entire inventory I would just tell you to go visit their website and be blessed by cheap books! There is even one on Open-Theism! So if your into Open-Theism surprise God and go buy the book, he will never see it coming!

note: my mocking and caricaturization of open-theism is meant to be humorous, if your sense of humor has been impaired or just never really developed I apologize, and will pray for you.

ryan

Web Wednesday – All John Piper Books $5

Right now, DesiringGod.org has all of John Piper’s books for $5.

Be patient, as you would expect, the server is running very slow.

Personally I would recommend:

The Pleasures of God

https://i1.wp.com/www.monergismbooks.com/assets/pleasures073.jpg

This is my favorite John Piper book ever. Nothing has helped shape my view of God’s glory, and self-sufficiency, than this great work on what God takes pleasure in. Nothing has ever encouraged me to read scripture to take great pleasure in God.

God is the Gospel

The image “https://i1.wp.com/www.monergismbooks.com/assets/godgospel7510.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

When it comes to reformed views on the gospel, most people find it inapplicable to daily life and/or not practical for actually missional/evangelical work. This is a excellent work that treats the gospel as foundational and exhaustive to the Christian life. I find it a great study to help live on mission in this world. There is a reason Acts29 places this book in their missiology category of recommended books.

Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood

The image “https://i0.wp.com/www.monergismbooks.com/assets/recovering8064.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

A great selection of essays for a Biblical foundation of the roles of men and women. Plus, I have a man crush on Wayne Grudem. There I said it.

Matt

(Ryan, your recommendations?)

Three Expressions of the Local Church

NOTE: THIS POST WAS UPDATED ON 12/13/2008.
Recently I was asked to clarify what I believed regarding smaller communities and their importance in the local church (my beliefs on “small” and “big” church). As a young church planter I am very much still developing my ecclesiology, but from a “get-r-done” standpoint, you still run with what you got. Here’s what I wrote:

 

I define the church as the body of believers responding to God in and through community. While obviously limited, this definition serves as a functioning working definition (since we need to function at this point). This definition of church serves as a foundation for much of my ecclesiological convictions.

As pastors we are very quick to define the church as both universal and local when thinking of the church on a macro-scale. This is seen in how we define the church as existing glocally, in regards to the church being made up of everyone who follows Jesus as the Lord, and locally, in regards to the individual communities that exist as the church. My philosophy on small and big church takes this idea, and puts it into use on the local scale.

There are three primary modalities of the local church. A local church exists corporately, in individual communities and as families themselves.

How is this different than most churches? It’s not, it is actually more inclusive. It gives credit and authority to each expression of the church. 

When I say I believe a local church exists as a corporate unit, as individual units, and as families, I give credence to each of those units as actually being church. As the Trinity is each fully God, yet God is one. So are these three modalities each fully the church. Remove a member of the Trinity and God is incomplete. Remove a modality of the local church and it also is incomplete (Churches that start with either a MC model or a large gathering model must be aware of their incomplete nature at the beginning stage of their formation). In every level of teaching the equality of the modalities should be pushed, and it should be considered when time and resources are in question. Here are the three modalities of the church:


Home Church (the family)

Main Scriptures for reference (Duet. 6, Eph 5-6, Col. 3)

– Jesus is the Head Shepherd. The Bible is the Authority.

– Husband/Father is lead shepherd (since pastor is a buzzword, lets use the synonym of Shepherd since it is the same, but hasn’t adopted its own meaning). The Wife/Mother is also shephard/pastor, and functions as operations manager if you will.

– The two most important roles in the entire church are in the Home Church. The Mother (manager) and the Father (shepherd). As manager and shepherd these two are responsible for the most important function of the local church: raising children to love the Lord and neighbors as a way of life.

– The lead shepherd is responsible for leading the Home Church on mission.

– The Home Church should function like the church. There should be Bible teaching, communion, prayer, worship, church discipline, service, use of gifts, etc.

– The Home Church functions as a gateway to the other facets of the local church, and the church universal for that matter.

– When it comes to importance, the Home Church is paramount for mission, and paramount for the health of the local church community. It is also the basis for qualification for leadership in other church modalities.

– The Home Church is the primary function for loving and blessing the city in three major functions:
    
    1. It serves as an example for how families should be raised.
    2. It holds together the building block of culture.
    3. It blesses society with hard-working followers of Christ, who seek to live their lives as a blessing to others.

 

Community Church (what most churches call
small groups, or what emerging churches refer to as Missional Communities/Simple or House Churches)

Main Scripture References (Acts 2, Eph. 4, Jer. 29)

– Jesus is the Head Shepherd. The Bible is the authority.

– The group leader is the lead shepherd.

– The lead shepherd is responsible for leading the Community Church on mission.

– The Community Church should function like the church. There should be Bible teaching, communion, prayer, worship, church discipline, service, use of gifts, etc.

– Community Church is the primary function of two important functions of the local church:

1. Meeting the needs of individuals and families of the church. When financial, emotional, and relational problems occur, it should be the Community Church that meets needs.

2. Front line mission work of the local church. It is small enough to bring people in to experience the community of God. It also exists at a grass-roots level where it can come together quickly and move effectively in active service to the city.

– Community Church is normally, but not limited to weekly gatherings in homes. The exact expression of said community should be organic.

 

Corporate Church

– Jesus is the Head Shepherd. The Bible is the authority.

– The corporate shepherds – both professional and not – represent the tri-perspectival view of church leadership. There are prophets, priests and kings.

– Corporate shepherds shepherd the various ministries of the church.

– The corporate shepherds are responsible for leading and training people within their various ministries 
(ex. The Community Shepherds probably have the largest task in the whole church in regards to training Community
Church leaders)

– The Corporate Church should function similar to what we often refer to as “church”. There should be Bible teaching, communion, prayer, worship, church discipline, service, use of gifts, etc.

– Corporate Church is expressed as a meeting of Home and Community Churches. We come to hear from God corporately and respond to God corporately as the body of Christ on mission in Las Vegas and in the world.

– Corporate Church exists as a city on a hill, for all the city to see. They see the church, hear from God’s word and respond to him through lives of worship. Thusly, it is the primary vessel for the local church’s city evangelism.

 
If comments warrant it, I will happily give a scriptural and experiential basis as well as a vision for what each expression can and should look like.

Matt

 

Rob Bell and Greg Boyd

I am hesitant to post this just because I do not want it to come off as someone who has an agenda against Rob bell. I do not. I subscribe to his podcasts, and am often challenged and convicted by his deep simplicity when it comes to the scriptures and their application. I love his NOOMA video’s and have used them a few times for teaching purposes. But just like most of the people that teach me and inspire me (outside of Tim Keller) I think it is always important to be open and honest about some of the flaws of these same people. Because when it is all said and done we follow Christ and no one else (except maybe Tim Keller).

I say all of this to point out that Rob Bell is a much smarter and cunning guy than people give him credit for when it comes to theology and doctrine. He is no dummy. Sometimes one of the most appealing aspects of Rob Bell is the way he can come off as so centered on Jesus and displays a kind of “aww schucks” approach about theological finer points. I have even heard him utter such lines that are quite trendy such as “I just want to follow Jesus” or “I think we just need to be followers of the way” both of which I can agree with, but are complex theological statements that at surface level appear not to be. But as I have been listening for the last year, and listening closely I have found that that Rob does have strong opinions on controversial issues, they are often just expressed in more subtle ways.

Take for example the issue of homosexuality, Rob Bell has pulled a “McLaren/Campolo” on this issue basically saying that no one can comment or speak on the subject unless they personally know homosexuals, and then also cautions that we should be careful about saying homosexuality is a sin because Jesus never said anything about it. I am summarizing here, but I believe my summary is accurate. If you want to read it yourself here is the link to Ben Witherington’s blog who writes about it, Ben is one of the most renowned New Testament Scholars in the world. Dr. Witherington concludes, and rightfully so, that this is a frightful conclusion and very un-biblical (Rom. 1:26-28). As someone who has a gay family member, I understand the temptation to rationalize away their sin and avoid the conflict that might ensue by faithfully proclaiming the word’s of the Bible. Yet I have to believe that Jesus, and the gospel are powerful enough to not just make moral people churchgoers but to even radically alter a person’s sexuality as they come to love Jesus.

The second concern I have is that as the Atonement has become the hottest most debated and contested theological issue out there today, Rob Bell seems to be lining up pretty close with Christus Victor and Christus Exemplar as the pillars of the Atonement at the determent of the centrality of Penal Substitution theory. Now I do not want to go into all the different aspects of the atonement right now, I realize that Jesus accomplished many things on the Cross, but central to all that he achieved is that he took our place (substitute) for the punishment that we deserved (penal) so that we would get God. Driscoll has all sorts of great stuff on this and preached a 12 part series on it a year ago, it is worth your time to listen to all of it. Rob Bell on the other hand has lined up more with Greg Boyd and a view that trumps the example of Jesus above the penal component. If you are looking for further reading on this topic the book “The Nature of The Atonement” a counterpoint book, is worth your read. In it Greg Boyd writes a chapter and is down right hostile at times to the view of Penal substitution.

I bring up Greg Boyd and his views to highlight that on 4/28/2007 Rob Bell had Mr. Boyd speak at his church on the topic selected by Rob Bell himself “Christos Victor.” Bell gave Boyd a glowing endorsement as he introduces him and mentions that he loves Greg’s teachings and preaching (I just want to comment here that Greg Boyd is one of the most well known spokesmen and scholars for Open-Theism). I was pretty shocked when I downloaded that podcast because Boyd is a pretty controversial figure among Evangelicals and is considered by some to be even un-biblical. I do not want to get into here if Open theism is good or bad. We can save that discussion for some other time. My point here is that Rob Bell knows what sensitive topics Open Theism and the Atonement are, so to bring in Greg Boyd and let him address it was a way to put the ideas out there and condone them to his church but not have to do it himself. As much as I love Bell and his authenticity I have to be upfront that his affinity for Christus Exemplar seems to overshadow that the reason we are to live and breathe and die as Jesus did is because our good works are the vindication and authentication that we have become new creations in Christ by his blood, that has atoned for our sin. We are saved by grace for good works (Jas. 2:14-26). This grace is not cheap, Paul tells us in Romans that the wrath of God is upon us, and that it is Jesus who propitiates that wrath onto himself on our behalf, something we could never do. This is something we do not deserve and is true biblical grace that makes us stand in awe of the cross, and that is has taken away our sin, so that we might love the marginalized and oppressed just like Jesus did (Matt. 24-25).

With all that said, I want to be clear. I like Rob Bell. I think he is a great teacher and communicator. Yet I am cautious because in many ways the Mainline liberal denominations that are now ordaining gay pastors, and changing the trinity to mother, womb, and spirit, started off by pushing doctrine aside in favor of the social concerns of the gospel and over emphasizing Christus Exemplar and the incarnation while forgetting about Jesus’ current state of exaltation (Rev. 15). I am not saying that Rob Bell is leading his church into theological liberalism, but as one becomes more skirmish on the penal aspect of the atonement and pushes away from biblical teachings on homosexuality and begins to put all emphasis on Jesus’ concern for social justice, I push back by saying lets not be embarrassed by tough teaching of the Bible and pivotal parts of the atonement. I look forward to reading and disscussing more Matt’s and Vicky’s thoughts on “Velvet Elvis” I hope the Lord will use Rob Bell to teach and instruct them the way he has used Rob Bell to edify and grow me.

ps. Jake is my hero (or maybe Tim Keller is)

ryan

Velvet Elvis and Vicky #1

Before I get started on part 1 in a series of Velvet Elvis and Vicky posts, I would like to point to Joe Thorn, who has posted 2 excellent posts on family worship. Here and Here. Really good stuff, obviously, not having kids, Vicky and I can do some fun stuff like add reading a crazy book like Velvet Elvis by Rob Bell to our time. Now for the fun.

THE GOOD

quotes:

“Times change. God doesn’t, but times do.”

thoughts:

The best thing Bell does in Chapter 1, which also probably freaks most people out, is deconstruct our idea of doctrine. In an incredibly articulate way he makes an analogy to how we have set-up and worshiped our doctrine and beliefs in the place of God the same way Aaron and the Israelites set-up and worshiped the golden calf in the place of God. This was deeply convicting and moving. I pray that we all would here Rob’s advice and not trade in worshiping and following the living an true God for worshiping and following our man-made concepts of him. Our doctrine should lead us to God, not take his place. Horribly wonderful.

THE BAD

quotes:

“Luther was taking his place in a long line of people who never stopped rethinking and repainting the faith.”

– This is probably a semantical issue, but still it would be much better to say that we are “rethinking and repainting” our expression off the faith. The faith (in the person and work of Jesus Christ) never changes, our expressions (which are culturally relevant) do.

thoughts:

At this point our reading I considered this simply a conceptual error on Mr. Bell’s part, not a theological error. However, it became apparent throughout the beginning chapter that Rob’s focus lent towards a modified justification by works, and not justification by faith alone. One very apparent part was his description of why he is a Christian:

As a Christian, I am simply trying to orient myself around living a particular kind of way, the kind of way Jesus taught is possible. And I think that the way of Jesus is the best possible way to live.

It isn’t irrational or primitive or blind faith. It is merely being honest that we are all living a “way”.

I’m convinced being generous is a better way to live.

I’m convinced forgiving people and not carrying around bitterness is a better way to live.

(I omit 3 lines for lengths sake)

I’m convinced being honest with people is a better way to live.

This is Rob’s view of faith. Atheists place their faith is many ways of living. Christians place their faith in the way Jesus taught to live.

This is really the standard Emergent “Christus Exemplar” version of Jesus. The problem with this Jesus, is unless he goes to the cross to take care of our sin problem, he is simply another legalistic Pharisee. Maybe I’m just not as good of a person as Rob, because when I am honest with myself, I am not convinced that the way of Jesus is the best way to live. I am constantly confronted with the fact that I want to live my way not Jesus. This causes me to repent, draw closer to Jesus, and trust by faith that he is in the process of conforming my heart to love what he loves. Like Rob, I come to my conclusion when I am honest with myself. And since we both think that when people are honest they come to different conclusion, the reality is that one of us is not really being honest with themselves.

THE UH-GLY:

Check out this quote:

“Perhaps a better question than who’s right, is who’s living rightly?”

I would say that Brian McLaren has a right to accuse Rob here of blatantly stealing his entire premise for A New Kind of Christian, however, Rob changes one word and thusly changes the entire meaning. McLaren’s thesis of ANKOC was that Christian are more concerned with being right than being righteous. That is a phenomenally wonderful statement, which stabs the Christian sub-culture with the most blatant truth of what it causes the prevailing culture to feel.

https://i1.wp.com/melvinrivera.com/wp-content/uploads/2006/06/brian%20mclaren%20250.jpg  “Hey Rob, stop stealing my ideas. You don’t even get it!”

Rob’s rehashing of the statements produces a legalistic inclination, to what was previously a very wonderful thought. With McLaren’s version, we are freed from needing to be right and always needing to defend our side, and moved to loving God and others. With Bell’s statement, we move from needing to be right and always defend our side to facing the legalistic hill of needing to do what’s right. Now the burden is on us to be like Jesus:

This kind of life Jesus was living, perfectly and completely in connection and cooperation, is the best possible way for a person to live.

Great, you thought living up to your parents or societies expectations was hard, now you have Jesus’ life.

Conclusion:

That review is only half-way through chapter 1. This process could take a while.

Matt

Powered by ScribeFire.