Friday, February 29, 2008

Resurgence Conference Day 3: Wednesday

Jim Gilmore, author of The Experience Economy and Authenticity: What Consumers Really Want, spoke for a second time this morning. He is a business man from Ohio (pretty sure he's a Tribe fan since he's from the Cleveland area and Mark said he's a big baseball fan) who used his background to look at the church and the work pastors do. It is amazing how much is out there in the world that can deviate our perception of God's Word and His plan in the world.

Just a small plug for the food service we got for our lunches during the conference, was so tasty and all organic! Even the plastic sack that the lunch came in had written on it, "Our Earth friendly bags are biodegradable and compostable." I wouldn't expect anything less than that from a conference hosted in the Pacific Northwest. Gotta be good stewards!

I briefly talked with a guy named Dwight who was an older pastor from a small town in Southeastern Washington. It was encouraging talking to a guy that loved Jesus and loved what was going on at an event like this one. It has been great to see such a wide variety of ages and races here, showing the broad diversity that the Gospel reaches out to.

Mark Driscoll ended up not preaching one last message, but instead did Q&A for almost 2 hours. It was such a treat when his wife, Grace, came up with him to answer marital questions. God poured out so much wisdom through the Driscolls to me and many others in the audience.

This afternoon was especially exciting because I received a voicemail about coming down to Portland for a job interview! God certainly has good timing. I'll write more later about how it goes and whether or not God ends up making that the path I travel down. Great ending to such a wonderfully Gospel-centered conference.

In all, it was reported that 46 states and 11 nations were represented there! Wow!

Day 0: Sunday
Day 1: Monday
Day 2: Tuesday
Day 3: Wednesday
Video/Audio here

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Resurgence Conference Day 2: Tuesday

Matt Chandler is an amazing preacher. He has a depth and heart unlike any other speaker I have heard. God is using him significantly in the lives of others, not only in the Bible belt, but also around the country and here at this conference. He talked about the difficulty and the necessity of preaching the Gospel in the Bible belt, specifically at his church outside of Dallas. The real issue in churches these days is not traditional versus contemporary. The issue is authentic versus inauthentic. So many churches don't preachers don't teach a Biblical, text-focused, Jesus-is-God-focused Gospel. Way too many consumer churches. Unfortunately it would be too hard for me to articulate the other details of what was preached, so check it out here if you are more interested. (link will be posted ASAP)

John Piper's second message hit me harder than anything I've heard in years. I started to cry when he talked about the fact that pastors must preach what people need to hear instead of what they think they need to hear. And that's God's Truth, even though it's hard sometimes. The sermon audio and notes are on the desiringGod website here. I could clearly feel God in that room and Him using John Piper to encourage so many of these pastors to live up to God's calling of them.

The majority of the afternoon involved Mark Driscoll and Matt Chandler talking to the prospective pastors here for the Acts 29 church planters' boot camp. They provided me helpful perspective by knowing that God isn't calling me to be a pastor right now. I'll talk more about that on a later post.

The Q&A session in the evening with John Piper, Matt Chandler, and Mark Driscoll was hilarious! I will put a link here once it is posted online because if you don't watch anything else, you have to watch this. It really shows how pastors can come together and agree on the Gospel and not always go about proclaiming it using the same methodology. Example: the difference between Piper and Driscoll... one of them hasn't owned a television since he was a teenager and the other one gets the majority of his application from his television. Yet, God is using them both to proclaim the Gospel in the world. Changing lives for Christ. There can be unity instead of division.

Day 0: Sunday
Day 1: Monday
Day 2: Tuesday
Day 3: Wednesday
Video/Audio here

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Resurgence Conference Day 1: Monday

Mars Hill's Ballard campus is only a 20 minute walk from my apartment. I got up nice and early to take a stroll over to help out with some more Pre-Conference check-in. A highlight included meeting Lecrae Moore, a Christian hip hop/rap artist from Memphis, who actually performed for everyone later on in the day. A guy came up to him at the check-in tables and got his autograph on the shirt he was wearing! We were watching and thinking to ourselves, Woah! Who is this guy!? He's famous! I had to google him once I got home.

After lunch the real check-in time began (chaos!). It wasn't too bad. Thankfully we had plenty of volunteers. Once the crowd passed, I watched CJ Mahaney enter into the lobby, chatted with a couple people, and hung out for a while. I didn't get a chance to meet him, but when he passed us while leaving the area, he acknowledged us giving up our time to volunteer and said to us, "Thank you for serving!" He is such a great man who loves Jesus and shows it in his life. Please read his book, Humility: True Greatness, as he writes about the importance of finding evidences of God's grace and God's work in the lives of the people around us. God is at work, but we often fail to see it.

The day ended with John Piper opening his heart in the evening. I can't believe I have never heard him preach before. I identified with him on so many levels. He described his personal steps for having confidence in the Bible, and it was so refreshing to hear him say what has been in my heart for so long.

Day 0: Sunday
Day 1: Monday
Day 2: Tuesday
Day 3: Wednesday
Video/Audio here

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Resurgence Conference Day 0: Sunday

I was asked to help out with registration/check-in for the Resurgence Conference these past couple days. Over 1100 people have registered for this 4-day teaching event.

Sunday entailed Pre-Conference check-in and afternoon sessions. The session I attended was a panel-type discussion of community groups and recovery groups. Both are essential in growth and healing in a life pursuit of Jesus.

The majority of attendees have come from many different states and countries, even some as far away as South Africa, Australia, Taiwan, and many more. I saw a couple of guys crossing the street to come into Mars Hill's Ballard campus while taking pictures of the building (which is funny because it's certainly not the type of building you take pictures of). It's so amazing how far many of these men have come, some with their wives too, to hear this good quality Biblical teaching in person. It'll be tough to leave all of our friends here in Seattle when we move down to Portland next month.

They have already posted video here of some of the speakers so far.

Day 0: Sunday
Day 1: Monday
Day 2: Tuesday
Day 3: Wednesday
Video/Audio here

Friday, February 22, 2008

Baseball's Steroid Issue with Christians

For those of you fascinated with high-profile Christian baseball players (like Andy Pettitte) and the Major League Baseball steroid controversy, read this article by C.J. Mahaney. Good stuff to think about.

Photo from

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Creator of LOST: What is a Mystery?

You have to check out this video (see below or click here). It is so funny and so true. One of the co-creators of LOST, J.J. Abrams, gives a little talk at TED about mystery. What he talks about is so integral to good storytelling, and that is exactly what solidifies LOST as one of the best tv shows ever. Good character development and mystery is what this show is all about.

If you haven't gotten into LOST, I highly recommend it. As would my wife. I got her into it and now she is obsessed too. We appreciate it because we can identify with it by connecting with the characters, as well as staying hooked because of the mystery.

Watch LOST on Thursdays @ 9pm (on the west coast) on ABC!

Image from

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Mark Driscoll Debate

So many Christians debate about Mark Driscoll's work in the church. Some love him, some hate him. Even I have joined in by expressing my opinion.

Tim Challies has encountered this dilemma after his latest review of Mark's book, Vintage Jesus on Tim addressed this with a wonderfully balanced response post, called "How Do You Solve a Problem Like Mark Driscoll?" It is a great read. Take a look at it.

Hopefully Christians will be encouraged by Tim's post. That we can be more unified, less divisive, and to see Mark as a man sold out for Jesus despite our own personal convictions.

Image from Mark's Facebook profile.

Monday, February 18, 2008

300 Sexy Abdominals

Last night we watched 300. So many sexy pectorals and abdominals. Pretty sure they didn't look like that way back in the day, but hey, I appreciate a fine specimen of the human body. And there were certainly plenty of them in this movie.

The movie had a good, simple plot...fighting for freedom and not kneeling down to false gods. It had simply amazing fight scenes...bloody, intense, and drenched in testosterone. Even the sex scene was relatively decent...and by decent, I mean that it was passionate lovemaking between a married man and woman (as opposed to adulterous sin).

While I was watching this movie, I found myself wanting to pick up a sword and a shield myself and start killing me some bad guys. After the movie, Jen and I were discussing the fact that this is the kind of movie that guys love. Why do most men love movies with fighting, violence, and war?

I believe that it's because men were created that way. Most people that know me see me as a relatively gentle, peaceful, non-physical type of guy. I have never been in a fist fight in my life. Well deep down I like to believe that I would beat down anybody who was hurting the ones that I loved. I have a real fighting side to me. It comes out when I watch movies like this. But is it really that wrong? Is it wrong to fight the bad guys? To stand up for justice and freedom? To protect my wife, and one day, my kids?

Too many men now-a-days have become lazy and sissy. Movies like this get me excited to fight for those that need to be protected, to fight against evil, and to fight for Jesus' name. I have this desire to fight deep inside of me, as a man. I don't want to ignore it. I want to use it for good, fighting against evil.

Images from

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Videoblog: Ground Squirrel Escape

Here is a video clip I shot this past weekend in Arizona. We walked around the awesome Desert Botanical Garden and discovered these clever ground squirrels feasting on the tasty morsels. I guess the cacti aren't worth the effort to eat. Go figure.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

I Got A New Heart!

I am so thankful to God for using Mark Driscoll in my life. He puts words to what I've been thinking and pondering for so long now. I have gotten excited about reading the Bible. And it hasn't just been a temporary thing that I drop after a few weeks. It has become constant.

A regenerated heart is what I have. A new heart and a new mind. Transformed by the grace of God. I actually want to please God. I actually want to treat my wife lovely. I actually want to be a servant. That's my deepest desire. And I can't boast in myself, but in Him. He is the One who changed me.

What is your deepest desire? Is it to please God, or to please someone else?

Driscoll has been going through a series called Ask Anything, where people voted online to pick the top 9 questions to ask him about anything. Check out the video below. Here he talks about the differences between faith and works (i.e., Jesus=good, Religion=bad), and the difference between Christians and a non-Christians. I am so thankful for God using Mark to help me understand how God works for us, in us, and through us.

Click here if you want to see a larger video.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Friends: All 10 Seasons

Last month we finally finished watching the entire collection of Friends. Quality show. I was originally skeptical, but that feeling quickly disappeared. Thinking that it was just another chick flick tv show that I wouldn't be interested in, I eventually remembered that I actually do enjoy chick flicks! I fell in love with these characters. Such a quality show.

What is great about this tv show is that all of these friends accepted each other. Let's look at the main characters:
  • Ross got 3 divorces
  • Chandler never fails at slipping in a bad-timed joke
  • Monica is super anal about cleanliness
  • Phoebe had her brother's triplets
  • Rachel was a spoiled brat
  • Joey was so dumb that he bent over and practically asked a guy to steal everything Chandler's and his apartment
Many people would get frustrated, weirded out, or overwhelmed with friends like these. Many would give up on them. Many would treat them poorly. But this group of friends loved each other better than most groups of friends I have ever known.

Jesus was a friend to screwed up people. He saw them in a different light than we often see our friends. He views them so much better. How can we be more accepting of our friends? How can we be more comforting in the times when we really don't want to be involved in their lives?

Images found here and here.