Tim Keller, The Prodigal God Pt. 2

I know the economy is tough but if you have an extra 15 bucks go buy Keller’s new book, at least put it on your Christmas wish list.  Its a short little diddy and something you could easily read through and pass along to a friend.  Now if your still recalcitrant to ponying up 15 dollars at least listen to the sermon which Keller gave and based the book on.  Please!!!

Let me share with you another snippet that hit me hard as I have continued to study Luke 15 and the three parables (lost sheep, lost coin, prodigal brothers) found in there.

There is, though, one striking difference between the third parable and the first two.  In the first two someone “goes out” and searches diligently for that which is lost.  The searchers let nothing distract them or stand in their way.  By the time we get to the third story, and we hear about the plight of the lost son, we are fully prepared to expect that someone will set out to search for him.  No one does.  It is startling, and Jesus meant it to be so.  By placing the three parables so closely together, he is inviting thoughtful listeners to ask: Well, who should have gone out and searched for the lost son?”  Jesus knew the Bible thoroughly, and he knew that at its very beginning it tells another story of an elder and younger brother–Cain and Abel.  In that story, God tells the resentful and proud elder brother: You are your brother’s keeper.” (p.81)

Our elder brother, Jesus, did not grumble when sent out to search for his younger brothers.  Instead, he humbled himself and came to earth so that we might be reconciled to the Father.


I love the Olympics

I don’t know why but put the Olympics on TV and I will watch it non-stop.  I do not care if it is fencing or water polo, I am enthralled.  And if the USA is competing than I am even more interested.  Part of it is the grandiose stage, part of it, is the history, and part of it is nationalistic patriotism that the Olympics fosters in me.  I even check frequently throughout the day to see the medal count (right now the USA is second to China 14 to 12).

So how about you, do you like the Olympics?  If so, what is your favorite event to watch?  So far mine has been Volleyball.  It is non-stop action, incredible athleticism and the speed at which they spike the ball is amazing.  It is truly great TV.



The Dark Knight

I went with a group of friends on Friday night and say the new Batman movie.  We went to the 10pm showing and I was a bit tired from the start.  Lucky for me the movie was enough to wake and keep just about anyone’s attention.

Going into the movie I was a bit skeptical.  The massive expecations, the rave reviews, and the early Oscar buzz had me thinking that there was no way this movie could deliever on all the hype.  I was wrong.  Ledger was better than I thought he was going to be, and the story was riddled with complexities and deeper questions about terror, fear, and the innate desire in some to just do evil.

Though only part of the movie that I really had a hard time with was with the two boats that were faced with a moral dilemma of killing the other boat before they killed them.  The Joker had bet this would be the defining piece of evidence in his thesis that people would generally seek self-preservation when faced with fear and death.  Of course Batman delivers the cheesy line of something like, “the people of Gotham are to good for that.”  And in an overly ideal conclusion; the Joker is proven wrong about the nature of Gotham’s citizens.  I just could not buy it.  It was too neat and clean.  Especially considering that a mob of people had showed up at a news studio, a few scenes before, to shoot a guy that was going to divulge the identity of Batman.

This is really a fundemantal weakness of all big blockbuster movies; they are unable to deviate to far off the PC nature and view of humanity and society.

This really is a minor critique, because most of us go to movies like this to be enthralled with a stunning film with a wonderful story.  The Dark Knight succeeded on both fronts.

For all of you who saw it, what are your thoughts?



Mark Driscoll And His MANY New Books

Well since Mark Driscoll stepped down as lead pastor at Mars Hill he has gone into overdrive with his teaching and writing, in his role as preaching pastor at Mars Hill.  I wish I could manage even half of the productivity that this guy does. Well in the course of this year Driscoll is set to publish a handful of books that I think will be quite noteworthy.

The last Book that Driscoll came out with was Vintage Jesus.

I have not read it but my wife Crystal has and she really loved it.  I have listened to all the sermons the book was based off of and think the foundational Christology found in the book is second to none.  Here is the website for that book.

Driscoll’s next book, Death By Love, is one I definitely plan on reading. It is about how the work of Jesus on the cross has defining implications for our everyday lives, and if that is not enough the cover alone is worth the money.

And since publishing two major books in one year is not enough, Driscoll also decided to come out with a handful of small books (around 100 pages) on topics like church leadership, New Testament, and Old Testament.  These will be great resources to give out to new Christians and people trying to understand how the Bible all goes together.

So take the time to check out some of these books and pass them onto others who they might bless.


Please Pray

Psalm 147:11

the LORD delights in those who fear him,
who put their hope in his unfailing love.

I have been struck by the immense suffering and tragedy that has struck Burma. Sadly over 22,000 people have perished because of the cyclone that hit there earlier this week, and over a 100,000 or more will be left homeless and without the basic necessities for survival.

It is just so easy, maybe even too easy for us Americans to just glance past these stories as we flip channels and check our email. We feel as if there is nothing we can do to make any difference. After all, what should we do? Quit our jobs and buy a plane ticket to go volunteer for Red Cross? Well if your single and the Holy Spirit prompts you, than maybe. But what about for the rest of us? Well outside of writing a check or calling your elected official you can pray.

God calls his followers to pray. The LORD hears our prayers and they matter. So even if you just take one minute, about the time it took you to read this post to pray please do. The people of Burma are suffering and we have direct access to petition the King of the Universe.

UPDATE:  CNN is now reporting that the death toll will mount to 100,000 or more.  The previous tally of 20,000 was massively understated.


Tim Keller Is Everywhere

Tim Keller has been on a massive book tour for over a month. I have listened to many of his presentations and Q&A sessions as he has gone to Columbia, Standford, Berkeley, and even Google. Yes Google, which has possibly become the most dominant influential force on all of the internet (that is outside of Jake Keck’s blog). These videos have been all over the internet and I have pretty much watched all of them since I love the man (in a purely heterosexual manner). Here is the Google lecture which is really worth your time.

If that hit the spot for you, then go buy Keller’s book, which hit 7 on the New York Times non-fiction list.

This book is the best book I have read (twice) so far this year, and I think I need to go through it again. And if that was not enough Tim Keller for you then go to the book’s website and you can hear sermons on many of the chapters in the book! Whew I am tired after all the shilling for Dr. Keller.


Text + Context Conference Audio and Video now up

You can now watch the video or listen to the audio of all the sessions from the “Text and Context” national conference. It is all free so there is really no good reason not to listen to it and be blessed. I would personally recommend two sessions.

1. CJ Mahaney: Pastoral Character and Loving People. I have never heard someone with such a deep love and pastoral heart for the church as Mahaney conveys in this message. And while Matt thinks his voice is a little ridiculous, he is wrong and so are you if you do not spend the hour and listen to this message.

2. John Piper: How My Pastoral Ministry Shapes my Pulpit Ministry: If you are a young guy, or any guy who has become disillusioned with the church because it seems superficial and trite than listen to this message. And even if this does not describe you, still listen to the message. This will go in my itunes folder of message I need to constantly listen to for the rest of my life in ministry. Truly an anointed man who shares some incredible stories about what it means to be a pastor.

Honestly though I think all of these are worth listening to, except the Q&A with Driscoll, this might be because I had previously heard all his answers in sermons or other talks…

UPDATE:  The Q&A I with Mark Driscoll that I said not to listen to is not available, so sorry for the confusion if you are wondering which talk I was referring to.