Links I think You Would Enjoy

I really enjoyed this sermon by Rick McKinley. Just a great lesson on how to be honest with God while revering him as God. It seems that often times in the church that we get only one right, if that.

John Piper dispenses this nugget of wisdom on humility. I agree with Justin Taylor (whose blog every Christian should read) that this was the best line, “be more amazed that you’re saved than that they’re lost.”

Steve McCoy has lost his mind.

Trevin Wax has a great interview with N.T. Wright. N.T. is a great balance to the more Reformed conservative voices out there. Of course those voices provide a great balance to N.T., who on some issues, is way out there.

I got Bob Hyatt to admit by ommission that Doug Pagitt is a heretic. That is what I call an Emergent victory. Check the comments out for details.

Lee Coate has some great thoughts on how we discern fruit in the age where church planting is as cool as African babies are to celebrities.

Rob Hall preached a really good series on Jonah.




A Theory that Explains the Relationship

I will concede my ignorance that Obama wrote the Philadelphia speech on his own. Yet I still cannot shake the implications of his relationship with Rev. Wright.

Richard John Neuhaus writes about other implications of Obama’s speech that I had not considered.

The Strange Ways of Black Folk

At the end of the day I am befuddled at Obama’s relationship to with the Rev. It cannot be ignorance, Obama is way too smart. It cannot be calculated deception, he is too aware of the public eye. Actually I believe there is a theory that clearly explains why Obama would continue to have a relationship with Rev. Wright…

and that would be THE PRIME RIB THEORY.

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Ryan, care to explain…

The Sure Guy and The Gray Guy

Hey guys, remember me. My name is Matt. I used to blog here regularly. I just got back from the wonderful city of Mesquite, and boy do I have a lot to say.

I cannot help but consider the relationship between myself and Jake a perfect case study for Ryan’s epistemological theory regarding those who more inclined to be sure in biblical interpretation and those who are more inclined to be gray.  For those of you are new to this discussion, I am more inclined to sure and Jake is more inclined to gray.Jake’s wife likes to laugh and joke that Jake and I don’t agree on
anything. Yet we both consider each other good friends, we share prayer requests and struggles and rejoice and mourn with each other. He is a true brother in Christ and of all the pain of the last year, I look back and see my relationship with Jake as one of the best things that
has come out of it.

For the sake of helping you understand where we are coming from, let me briefly describe how different our upbringings were:

Jake: Pastor’s kid in the mid-west where all morality was black and white (alcohol bad)
Matt: Atheist/recovering alcoholic’s kid in Las Vegas where truth was relative (yet my mom never stopped drinking in front of my recovering alcoholic dad, who now drinks socially)

We both rebelled from these upbringings hard in college:

Jake: dressing like a homosexual (no, really, he wrote a blog about it here. When I first met Jake he had a weird “Cheetah Print” fetish)
Matt: becoming a legalistic thinking/moralist

Now, keeping in mind that I tend to be a bit more sure and Jake tends to be a bit more gray, the following are the two biggest issues he and I have dealt with this past year:

– A mutual friend abandoning his sick wife.

– A mutual friend throwing a holiday frat party.

Now how do a sure guy and a gray guy deal with these two scenarios? Very differently.  I will spare you most of the details of these two conversations (although Jake, please know that I am only putting the lid on them for your sake, if you want to bring them out I’m fine).

When our friend was abdicating his role as husband and abandoning his wife I, as a sure guy, I was able to love our friend by speaking truth into his life that Jake, as a gray guy didn’t/wouldn’t (I am not making a judgment call for motive). As a gray guy Jake was able to love my friend in a very safe environment that I could not provide. As far as fruit is concerned, well our friend refused to repent, so we cannot exactly say either of our styles worked.

After attending our friend’s Christmas frat party we had a similar exchange part of which can be viewed here. As far as fruit is concerned, our friends have refused to repent, so we cannot exactly say that either of our styles worked.

I would seem that we both have over-realized interpretations of certain parts of the Bible and under-realized interpretations of other parts of the Bible. As a sure guy I see in myself all the problems that Jake presents. As a gray guy, I see in Jake all the problems Ryan presents. I would like to get on my soapbox and say that I believe Jake postures himself over certain parts of scripture and instead of letting them define what certain things like “love” and “church” mean, he goes with what he thinks “love” and “church” should mean. I really would. And while I will not tell you that I find that statement untrue, what I will say is that I cannot get up on my soapbox and tell that to him becuase in reality:

I myself take my cue of what “love” and “church” mean from certain verses while marginalizing others. So that while I might assume to have a posture by where I let the scriptures define what certain things look like, I do it by marginalizing other verses.

I have been discovering that my main spiritual gift is prophecy (proclamation). The thing that has been so convicting lately is that all the prophets in the Bible were constantly on their faces praying for God to change people and have mercy on them just as much, if not more, than yelling at them (they still yelled mind you). Do I do this? Or do I bash people with the truth of the Bible hoping it will change them? I find this to be just as fruitless as not proclaiming truth and hoping to love and create safe environments for them to come to me when ready. People are never “willing” to repent, that is why God constantly sends people to verbally warn them throughout scripture.

I cannot help but think that if Jake and I were more like the other that we would see more fruit. Creating safe environments where people are loved and cared for. Environments where they are warned that sin leads to death and that Christ came to take away sin by those of us who are so wrecked by their sin that we have been pleading to God on their behalf.

Thanks for carrying the blog for a while Ryan, but it won’t be necessary any longer; I’m back.


If You Hate the Patriots You will Love this Commercial. Jake…

Regardless if you had a rooting interest (mine was to see the Patriots lose) you had to come away from this Super Bowl game realizing you just watched one of the greatest sporting events of all time. I believe this game will go down as the greatest Super Bowl ever (That did not involve the Denver Broncos winning).  And the catch that David Tyree made to keep the drive alive was simply legendary.

Here is a funny story about my night watching the game. Crystal and I watched the game with a group of people including my buddy Paul, who is a really big fan of the Giants. Right after the amazing catch Paul’s two year old daughter comes running up to him and says, “daddy I need to go poopy.” A massive look of angst came over his face and he said “can you hold it for one minute?” Of course she shook her head no. Paul looked up at the TV than down at his daughter then told her “alright start pushing it out right now” and picked her up like a baton in the 1oom relay and ran off to the restroom. And as it will go down in history, while Paul was helping his little girl take a poopy, Eli threw the amazing game winning touchdown to Plaxico Burress. The look on Paul’s face as he emerged from the restroom, priceless.

McLaren, Driscoll, Juno and Famous Black People

Vicky says it has been too long since I have blogged. Not believing her I decided to check and yeah, it’s been a while. So I thought I would catch up in 3’s:

3 Books I’m in right now

– Everything Must Change by Brian McLaren

– Introduction to Biblical Theology by Klein, Blomberg, etc.

– World Biblical Commentary – 44 – Colossians, Philemon by O’Brien

Mostly school and a little fun from BMac.

3 CD’s that are rocking my world right now

– Fort Nightly by White Rabbits

– In Rainbows by Radiohead

– Juno Soundtrack

3 Issues that have been on my mind

– Abortion

thanks to the following: NPR – possibly the worst thing I have ever heard on the subject, I had to turn it off before I completely lost it; Obama – the man and I have very different idea of what “justice” means; Juno – great, great, great movie. Unfortunately, what it does for pro-lifers it does the same for teenage fornicators. Adam Carola – he’s been especially preachy lately, great for perspective on commentary against the church)

– Politics

thanks to the following: Vicky – she’s a junkie for sure; Time Magazine; Jonathan’s blog; Matt Drudge

– 14 kinds of Grace

thanks to Mark “300 books” Driscoll. I mean really, was mentioning over and over again that you are going to write that many books necessary to helping me understanding grace? Really? Still great, but really?

3 Things That Might Change This Year

– The city I live in  (I know, when will it stop)

– The amount of people I live with

– The amount of healthy churches that meet it bars in Las Vegas

3 Things About This Blog

– We get roughly 25-30 hits a day for people searching for “famous black people” thanks to my post on The Bible Experience. And with Black History Month coming up I expect that number to increase. Sorry people searching for famous black people, you’re stuck with two white guys.

– Ryan’s in his last real semester of Seminary. Go ahead and send him some encouragement. I am really proud of him. Who would have though Dawson Leary in Seminary and Joey a manipulated Scientologist. Times have changed.

– Last year we had a little over 13,000 blog hits which was aided supremely by the Washington Post linking here. This month we had a little over 3,000. So expect a healthy dose of posts about more famous black people over the next few weeks. We’re shooting for 50,000 this year.

Peace Out – matt

UNLV 70, BYU 41

Oh and it felt so good. Nothing like beating up the Cougs. The game was
great, especially after doing so poorly against UNLV. If the Rebels
continue to take nothing for granted and play this hard every game,
forget an at-large, win get the MWC bid. Pictures below.

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Dustin and I Pre-game

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Pre-game warm-ups


Worth reading

Matt’s friend Devin, who we link to on this blog, has an excellent post that is quite lengthy but full of great thoughts on ministry, church planting, and theological education. Read it here.

(Devin is on the far left…the picture is taken at a Grace Point Baptism ceremony)

Here is one part I found especially interesting.

It is common among young church planters today to shun seminary. I understand this temptation had have chuckled along with others as some mega-church pastors took shots at “cemetery” trained pastors. I agree that it usually takes a few years to get the seminary out of guys before they are really ready to make an impact. Yet I am not sure it is a wise move to completely write off seminary as unnecessary. I think we live in a culture where theological preparation and knowledge is a must. A young church planter needs to be grounded in the gospel. You have to deal with a hodgepodge of spiritual thought today and it is vital for a church planter to know what they believe and why they believe it. The “I just believe the Bible” paradigm of yesteryear will not cut it in our culture of religious mayhem.


But I am bias since I am going to seminary right now, and have often wondered if seminary was an experience that was becoming out-dated. As I am getting closer to the end of my time I would answer with a resounding no, and argue that the time spent in seminary pays dividends that can not otherwise be had. Yet I would agree completely with Devin, that it is not a must for all to pastor. But those who can thrive in ministry without seminary, are more often the exception than the rule.



Neither Ryan or I have ever invaded each others posts to respond. Normally I would write this in a separate post, but I didn’t want my response to leapfrog Ryan’s.

For some reason I have managed to be one of the guys Devin emails when he has an article of interest. Most of the time he sends out a heads up when he has a article up on Monday Morning Insight. He sent one out for the article Ryan links to. Below is my response that I emailed Devin:

I would think that he was speaking to guys like me, not guys like you. Guys like me, who chose to plant with their own vision and purpose becuase they were too prideful to come under another seasoned man’s vision. Guys like me, who chose to plant becuase they were to prideful to realize they were too young to gain the respect that comes from caring for the church the way you did in seminary. Guys like me, who think they are the next Mark Driscoll and don’t give credence to the value of seminary, even though we really need it. Guys like me, who haven’t learned how to love and care for the flock, and yet think they could do it better than the next guy. Almost all of these come from carrying for the church that exists, and that through that God might prepare me to reach thousands of lost people. Lost people turn into church people, and they need the gospel daily just as the lost do. I think I sorely neglected this due to the hubris of young zeal.

I add this only to show the multiple sides to this issue. I strongly believe in Devin’s wisdom, and feel ever pressing conviction in Dr. Mohler’s words, at least at this point in my life.