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Thoughts and ideas on current events from an California evangelical perspective.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

From Gordon MacDonald on commenting about Ted Haggard:

The cardinal lies of a failed leader? I give and give and give in this position; I deserve special privileges—perhaps even the privilege of living above the rules. Or, I have enough charm and enough smooth words that I can talk anything (even my innocence) into reality. Or, so much of my life is lived above the line of holiness that I can be excused this one little faux pas. Or, I have done so much for these people; now it's their time to do something for me—like forgiving me and giving a second chance.

Leaders have to continue in holiness. There is no place for excuses. This is an important reminder when temptation comes.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

FROM the Christianity Today vault:

(My comments in bold)

The center of any theory about why Christians should vote must be a theory about why Christians do anything at all: that the Lord our God might be glorified. And how do we glorify God in our lives? Not by what we force others to do, but by what we ourselves do.

This connects with the Westminster Confession and John Piper's general view of our purpose being "to bring God glory"

One consistent feature of Christ's ministry was sacrifice of the self and its interests for the benefit of others. A Christian theory of voting, therefore, might be sketched along the same lines. Others vote because they are determined to win. Maybe Christians should believe their votes signal a willingness to lose.

Are we ready to be losers? To be losers for Christ? This a paradigm-shifting truth of Christianity. It's not about us. It's not about what we can accomplish. Christian belief is very humbling because it's not all about us. We admit that we aren't in control, and we need God's help.

Voting is the ultimate symbol of trust in our fellow citizens. To vote is to propose that we settle our differences not by warfare, and not by litigation, but by accepting the forms of democracy and laying our cherished certainties on how the world should be on the table. We rely on persuasion rather than coercion, which means that we risk being unpersuasive. If we are sufficiently unpersuasive, then our side loses and the other side wins.

What are the implications for this mindset? It means we aren't tied into the results. It means politics aren't greater than God.
How does it affect the idea of "activist judges"? I guess it makes us think about how much how persuasion is still required.

In that sense, our voting represents a sacrifice, an acknowledgment of the possibility that we will lose the political struggle, at least in the short run. But by taking that risk, by allowing our fellow citizens to outvote us, we place our hope in the next world, not this one, enabling us to render unto Caesar and glorify the Lord.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Brian Mavis at surveyed over 1,000 preachers on their biggest frustration:

I am Often frustrated by…

49.3% Seeing little response or life-change in the listeners.

34.6% Finding relevant illustrations.

31.9% Keeping the sermons fresh each week.

31.4% Lack of sermon preparation time.

23.9% Getting practical applications in my sermons.

22.0% Deciding what to preach on week to week.

18.7% Lack of attention and connection from the listeners.

Why sit down and listen if you don't want to be changed? I think that's the question preachers ask. They feel as if people are just there passing time, or constained out of a sense of obligation. But the other side of the interaction has to be addressed as well.

Why get up and talk if you aren't going to help God work in peoples' lives?
If I can't articulate and argue and demonstrate from Scripture how to live our lives, then it's not really preaching.

When you come away from a sermon, can you do more than remember the main point, or a rich illustration; can you experience life change? If not, there's work to be done on both sides of the pulpit.