New Blog Location.

It's official my blog has moved: http://www.dearfaithless.tumblr.com
Check me out there. Thanks.


Green Flip-Flops

By my back door sit these two pair of green flip-flops. One my wife's the other mine. For some reason as I was cleaning up around the house this morning this image caught my attention. It grabbed my mind and I saw such significance in our flip-flops sitting next to one another. They're both dirty. We wear them out in the backyard when we're too lazy for shoes. I started connecting these parallels in my mind of how much I love Kristin and this journey of life we're on together. We both come to the table with different things. We have different perspectives on some things. She's a bit more conservative than I am and I'm the one who's always thinking bigger than I probably should be. She reigns me back to earth. We're going to go through good times and hard times. We're going to get a bit dirty along the way I'm sure. The thing is she'll always be by my side and I'll always be by hers. She's my bride, my wife, my help mate, my partner, my love. I'm so thankful she's by my side. So thankful we can take these steps in life together. My God is so good to give me such an amazing wife.


A New Dawn Breaks...

I've been wondering for a long time if I'm on the right track. There are sometimes I wake up in the morning and I feel a sense of longing for something more than myself. I am blessed beyond measure with a wife and a home that I love and that love me. I'm not complaining about that. All I'm saying is that surely there must be something that God has not yet shown me. I feel like I'm right on the brink of Him moving me someplace. I feel like He's about to shift things around and rearrange my furniture. I'm just not sure how or when or where. Maybe it's nothing. But I sense a new day dawning. Some time ago I wrote a poem for an album I recorded with a friend under the name Opposite Day.

The sunrise peaks the horizon
Sparkling the light dances across the iris
The world is young but my soul grows weak
I turn to You if for nothing else than knowing I am safe
Hear in Your arms that I'm ok
The dew drips from the cloroformed leaves and spring to life
The clouds rip apart
The day, the life begins here.
As a new dawn breaks.

I feel like that's where I am. At the brink of a new day.
Excited and completely unsure of what is coming...


Simple Life - Book Review

We all long for simplicity. Our lives pull us in a million different directions. Somewhere in the midst of our work, home, and church lives we hope and long for something that is simple. Something to slow us down. We look for simplicity in how we design artwork and clothing. We want simplicity in how things function and work. We want simplicity in our lives.

Not long ago I had the privilege to play a concert with a band called The Cobalt Season. Their most recent album is called "In Search Of A Unified Theory". Ryan explains that the majority of us compartmentalize our lives. We place things in boxes. We have our work life, in which we do work things, we have sets of morals and values that are exclusive to our work life. Then we have our home life with it's own set of morals and values exclusive to it. Finally we have what we call our spiritual life. There are here exclusive morals and values as well. Ryan explains that "In Search Of A Unified Theory" is a set of songs where he is trying to combine these boxes of life. He is trying to mend the inconsistencies between his boxes. He's trying to make his life line up into one single unit. He longs for simplicity.

In their book Simple Life Thom Rainer and his son Art begin to unpack what it means to have a simple life. They do this in four areas: Time, Relationships, Money, and God. In each of these four ares there are four ways to make them simple. Clarity, Movement, Alignment, and Focus.

Clarity means that you have a plan and that the plan clearly states were you want to go. Movement takes place when we remove the congestion in our lives. Congestion in life means you aren't making progress. You can have a clear plan of where you want to go, clarity, but you aren't moving toward the goal. Alignment is when we look at the bad habits and problems that are interfering with our movement then we eliminate some of those things. Focus is that process of eliminating those things.

The authors walk through this process with each area of life in order to help the reader simplify. There are application section to help the read put into practice what he or she is reading. Rather than just giving information the authors provide the reader with something to literally do. The book is well written and indeed simple.


The Justice Project - Book Review

There are days and moments in which I find myself stopping to ask the question: "Do I have God all wrong?"

I know I must not have Him all wrong I mean I understand the Father's saving grace and the atoning sacrifice of Christ and the indwelling of the Spirit for guidance and direction into all truth. I wonder if I too often ignore the Spirit of God. If my preconceived notions of who God is have gotten in the way with who He really is? Am I believing under false pretenses about who my God is? Have I been speaking so quickly and believing so swiftly that I've missed the words God Himself was whispering?

I feel that God is taking me to some new places in knowing Him... at least I think He's trying to if I'll shut up and let Him. God's been teaching me and molding me through different resources and one of these is The Justice Project, which is a collaboration of Christian thinkers from around the globe asking questions about social justice and justice as it pertains to who God is. If nothing else this book has helped me to clear a path for questions of my own to resurface. Questions that have been brewing for a long time.

Tonight I sat in a warm bath to read some of this book. A tub full of clean water that I pulled a lever to access and gallons filled my clean tub in moments. Earlier today I filled a gallon jug in seconds with fresh cold clean water to use for coffee beans that I pulled from a bag and ground and brewed for myself and a friend with no thought at all. As I filled my tub and my jug today at both times God has reminded me of so many around the world without clean water to even drink. Here I sit wallowing in it. Here I can call it up at any temperature desired from the tap, if I'm feeling luxurious I might filter it... God has blessed me with so many things that I take for granted. What does it say about Him that so many go without? Rather what does it say about what my response to these situations should be. Justice is at the top of the list for God. He calls us to follow Him in this in Micah 6:8. He calls us to "do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly" with Him.

The Justice Project I hope will bring some questions to your mind as well concerning your role in social justice. I'm praying that God keeps my heart open to hear Him speak.


The word variously thrills, or it terrifies, or it bores. Justice is something we’re longing for, something we’re trying to evade, or something we feel vaguely guilty about because – in a post-ONE Campaign world – it’s something we’re supposed to be passionate about.

Whither justice?

This question is vitally enmeshed in early 21st century life, whether we’re approaching it politically, spiritually, philosophically, or pop culturally. Clothing lines that promise easy-purchasing justice, theological interpretations of the Gospel that say ‘Thank God we don’t get justice,’ and a litigious culture that demands justice for coffee that’s too hot – it’s a hot-button topic, for sure.

The contributors to this new anthology The Justice Project feel our pain. And they contend that the world has never been in greater need of Jesus-followers who "do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with God."

The Justice League:
This collection of essays contains more than thirty brief chapters by some of the most penetrating thinkers in the contemporary Christian ‘justice conversation,’ including voices from evangelical, mainline, and emerging contexts:

* Rene Padilla
* Peggy Campolo
* Will and Lisa Samson
* Sylvia Keesmaat
* Bart Campolo
* Lynne Hybels
* Tony Jones
* Richard Twiss
* many others

The essays are fresh, and take nothing for granted. You can read ‘em in order or peruse at will. The Justice Project is eating through my jaded-ness to inspire me to live a beautiful life of justice-making unto God’s new creation.

"Put together by exemplary leaders, this will be a handbook for any who are committed to working for biblically based social justice. It's comprehensive and brilliantly well written."
– Tony Campolo

"Absolutely dazzling. Here is a choir for social justice that makes the prophets smile. The editors have conducted a symphony of voices, harmonizing without homogenizing. You may find some voices here a little high pitched or unfamiliar, but together they are magical. These authors are not just the 'usual suspects' of the religious left, but signs of a movement that is coloring outside the lines of partisan politics and stale debates in a post-religious right world. They insist that our faith must be as daring and sassy, as gentle and fascinating, as our lover, Jesus."
– Shane Claiborne

Brian McLaren explaining his heart behind being the editor – and how his proceeds will be used:

25-page PDF excerpt:

Even the book’s potential theological critics are turning a hopeful eye:

Through The River - Book Review

"Your truth is what you make it." has never been more fleshed out than it is in modern culture. People all around the world and across the street come to the table with varying views on truth. Some believe truth is non-existent or that truth is created by one's own personal belief system. Some believe that truth is absolute and unchanging that it can be directly proven by facts and hard evidence. Some base truth on experience and ideas.

In their book Through the River, by John and Mindy Hirst - with Dr. Paul Hiebert, attempt to paint a picture of the reader of three main truth lenses (positivism-instrumentalism-critical realism) through the example of a place called River Town. In River Town there are three different types of villagers and each village represents a different truth lens.

The readers are given a fair and objective explanation of the three truth lenses. Positivism being the more extreme conservative view in which truth is absolute; and Instrumentalism being the extreme liberal view in which truth is fluid and changeable. The authors tend to lean a bit toward critical realism, a combination of positivism and instrumentalism.

The book is very practical and well written. It takes some large ideas by the late Dr. Paul Hiebert and puts them in a format that is easy to understand and dig through for every reader. I hope it's published again later by a larger company. This book deserves the press.


Through the River blog

Jon and Mindy Hirst on Twitter: @generousmind

Through the River Facebook Fan Page.

Through the River Facebook discussion group.


Whenever I can't get something out of my mind.
\Something I'm thinking pretty heavily about I end up walking around talking to myself about it.
This can seem and look pretty hilarious. However the most fun is when I get really into it.

I start preaching about it. I mean like old school fire and brimstone preaching about it.
I'm not sure where this comes from.

Today I can't get my Grandfather's funeral out of my mind. I'm trying to figure out when and where it is this weekend and it's frustrating that I can't get the answers I'm looking for. So this morning in the shower I started preaching. I was talking to imaginary people about how the Bible condemns laziness and gluttony (not sure how gluttony got in there) and that they needed to give me the times for the funeral.

That transferred to me actually preaching his funeral in my mind. I began to share all these stories and memories about my life and time with my grandfather. (At this point my cats began to give me strange looks.)

The earliest I can trace this habit back (to where I remember myself doing it) was once in 4th or 5th grade when I was listening to Carman's Cassette Tape "American Standard" where he preach/sings through "We Need God In America Again". I was listening to the cassette and pretending I was Carman preaching at the mirror. My dad came in without me noticing and scared the crap out of me.

Some of you are now doing one of a few things
+ You can't believe that I had a Carman Cassette Tape
+ You don't know who Carman is or what a Cassette Tape is.
+ You're still thinking about my cats making faces.

Regardless. What are your hang ups?
Those little quirky things that just kick in and you're not quite sure where they come from.


Ted Dekker's Green - A Book Review

Let me first say how excited I am to have the privilege of reviewing such an amazing work of fiction. I am a big fan of Ted Dekker's work and have read through almost all of his literary contributions. This is no exception. Green can be read as with the beginning or the end of the Circle Series which includes Dekker's other works Black, Red, and White.

Green is the much awaited beginning... or end to the Circle Series by Ted Dekker. It's a story that captures elements of love, truth, adventure, suspense, betrayal, and faith in a way that few Christian authors are able to capture. Dekker's imagination never ceases to captivate.

Green is a must have for any Ted Dekker fan. It is a great beginning and ending for the Circle Series, probably Dekker's most famous work. Green ties together the loose ends from many of the Books of History and Paradise novels.

Green wrestles with the idea of trusting and having faith in a God that sometimes seems distant or even absent. It's amazing how a work of fiction can hit home so hard with a Christian audience in real life. Much like in the novel hopping from one reality to another. Dekker causes the reader to pass from the reality of the book into the reality of life. Challenging and encourage a trust in a God who never fails.

Be sure to check out Ted Dekker's Green Website for Downloads, Videos and More!

I am a member of Thomas Nelson’s Book Review Blogger program: http://brb.thomasnelson.com/


A Prayer To Our Father - Hebrew Origins Of The Lord's Prayer - Book Review

A Prayer To Our Father by Nehemia Gordon and Keith Johnson is VERY hard to get into. In the first 50 pages all the authors do is talk about how they met, how they want got to the point of wanting to work together and how they come together despite their differences in order to write on the Hebrew Origins of the Lord's Prayer (The Avinu Prayer). The writing is very hard to read and seems more like a diary for personal use of the authors that for actual education of the reader. The authors begin using terms, such as the Avinu Prayer before they explain them. Overall this was not an enjoyable read.

Extraordinary - Book Review

Grace brings believers into relationship with God. But many Christians don’t understand that grace is also the power source for incredible joy, success, and peace in life. In Extraordinary, John Bevere presents a logical, compelling, and deeply inspiring case straight from Scripture for living a life far above “the ordinary.”
There’s a question that troubles many believers: “Why am I not experiencing more joy, more hope, more satisfaction, more intimacy, more power, more everything in my Christian life--didn’t Jesus promise that?”
He did promise an abundant life, but too many people are trapped by the curse of “the ordinary.” They have accepted the wrong idea that following God means losing individuality, creativity, and a passion for achieving lofty goals.
Nothing could be further from the truth! John Bevere builds a convincing case, straight from Scripture, for a way of living marked by extraordinary experiences and accomplishments—the life God always intended for his children.
Here is a guide to understanding God’s incredible plans, and how to enjoy a life where he adds the “extra” to “ordinary.”
Author Bio:
John Bevere is an internationally popular conference speaker, teacher, and author of bestsellers, including The Bait of Satan, Drawing Near, andDriven by Eternity. His award-winning curriculum and books have been translated in over sixty languages and his weekly television program,The Messenger, is broadcast around the world. John and his wife, Lisa—also a bestselling author and speaker—reside with their family inColorado Springs, Colorado. Visit his ministry website atwww.messengerinternational.org.
This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.
If you are interested in purchasing EXTRAORDINARY please be sure to check out the random house site! http://www.randomhouse.com/catalog/display.pperl?isbn=9780307457721&ref=externallink_wbp_extraordinary_sec_0817_01


The Diversity Culture by Matthew Raley - A Book Review

The subtitle to this book immediately grabbed my attention: "Creating Conversations of Faith with Buddhist Baristas, Agnostic Students, Aging Hippies, Political Activists, and Everyone in Between." As a youth pastor I have a large number of students that have friends (the majority % of my students have grown up in Christian homes) that fall into one of these categories. I have family that falls into this category.

I began to read through the pages and became immediately engaged with the coffee shop "Café Siddhartha" in which two individuals come to the table with very different perspectives on life and God and each other without saying a single word. I'm guilty of this.

Matthew Raley does an amazing job painting a picture of what the Diversity Culture is "the dominant American ethos of openness toward all beliefs and spiritual traditions". Raley walks through the preconceived notions most come to the table with. He encourages the reader to figure out what their own personal preconceived notions are and to wrestle with them.

Raley compares the conversations we are to engage in with those immersed in the diversity culture with the conversation between Jesus and the Samaritan woman. This is a very well written aspect of the book. It leaves the reader feeling encouraged knowing that Jesus walked through the same had conversations that we will have to in order to impact the culture. Raley is passionate about this cause stating that "unbelievers also need the endowments Christ has given you. As long as they think of Christian spirituality in terms of the group they know as evangelicals, they will not follow Christ. But if you show them the power of the risen Jesus in your testimony, the freedom you have found through the Scriptures, and the love you have stirred in members of Christ's family I think unbelievers will see the gospel for the first time. In think, in fact, that you can only show the gospel to the people of the diversity culture as an individual. You have to stick out."

The love of Christ must be shown to the world not simply told.

The Diversity Culture is a great book I recommend it to any an all who are looking for an hope in sharing there faith in the midst of this current world.


The Search for God and Guinness A Biography of the Beer that Changed the World By Stephen Mansfield - Book Review

The history of Guinness, one of the world’s most famous brands, reveals the noble heights and crushing descents of a great family and an innovative business.

It began in Ireland in the late 1700’s. The water in Ireland, indeed throughout Europe, was famously undrinkable, and the gin and whiskey that took its place was devastating civil society. It was a disease ridden, starvation plagued, alcoholic age, and Christians like Arthur Guinness—as well as monks and even evangelical churches—brewed beer to offer a healthier alternative to the poisonous waters and liquors of the times. This is where the Guinness tale began. Now, 246 years and 150 countries later, Guinness is a global brand, one of the most consumed beverages in the world. The tale that unfolds during those two and a half centuries has power to thrill audiences today: the generational drama, business adventure, industrial and social reforms, deep-felt faith, and the beer itself.

The Search for God and Guinness is a biography that traces the heritage of the Guinness family. The creators of Guinness beer. The author, Stephen Mansfield, in the early chapters lays out beautifully the sense of wonder in the reader as he explains all that goes into creating the dark stout beverage. He spends some time on the origins of beer itself and how the Guinness family became involved in the business of beer making. Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of it all are the ties of the Guinness family to social justice and the work of ministry through their beer company. Mansfield traces the various impacts that the Guinness family has had on the world, how the company itself treated it's employee's (to the point where Guinness was known as one of the best places to work in Dublin, Ireland. The author has done an amazing job with the biography and very noticeably has jumped in with both feet to provide the reader with an excellent and informative history of Guinness.


RagamuffinSoul Pimps My Music.

Carlos Whitaker "pimped" (promoted) a song I wrote called "Wild Goose Chase" for a series we did in PowerSource a little ways back. Head over to the site, check it out and leave some love!!!



If God Is Good - Randy Alcorn: Summary

Every one of us will experience suffering. Many of us are experiencing it now. As we have seen in recent years, evil is real in our world, present and close to each one of us.

In such difficult times, suffering and evil beg questions about God--Why would an all-good and all-powerful God create a world full of evil and suffering? And then, how can there be a God if suffering and evil exist?

These are ancient questions, but also modern ones as well. Atheists such as Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, and even former believers like Bart Ehrman answer the question simply: The existence of suffering and evil proves there is no God.

In this captivating new book, best-selling author Randy Alcorn challenges the logic of disbelief, and brings a fresh, realistic, and thoroughly biblical insight to the issues these important questions raise.

Alcorn offers insights from his conversations with men and women whose lives have been torn apart by suffering, and yet whose faith in God burns brighter than ever. He reveals the big picture of who God is and what God is doing in the world–now and forever. And he equips you to share your faith more clearly and genuinely in this world of pain and fear.

As he did in his best-selling book,
Heaven, Randy Alcorn delves deep into a profound subject, and through compelling stories, provocative questions and answers, and keen biblical understanding, he brings assurance and hope to all.

Author Bio:

Randy Alcorn is the founder and director of Eternal Perspectives Ministries and a bestselling author. His novels include Deadline, Dominion, Edge of Eternity, Lord Foulgrin’s Letters, The Ishbane Conspiracy,and the Gold Medallion winner, Safely Home. He has written eighteen nonfiction books as well, including Heaven, The Treasure Principle, The Purity Principle, and The Grace and Truth Paradox. Randy and his wife, Nanci, live in Oregon and have two married daughters and four grandsons.

If you would like to purchase If God Is Good you can do so at the ollowing link: http://www.randomhouse.com/catalog/display.pperl?isbn=9781601421326

This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.

My Little Friend

A mouse made it's way into my jar of animal crackers over the weekend (yes i forgot to put the lid back on) and I looked down and saw his beady little eyes looking back at me. I quickly put the lid on examined him a bit and then took outside to release him. Fun little excerpt from my day. : )


Family At It's Best Is A Beautiful Mess

Today has been a day of festivities. It's been a day of love and symbolic ceremonies. It's been a day of laughter and of love and beauty. There's also been some awkward moments and some unexpected ones. I'm reminded today what makes family so great. You never know what you're going to get. Sure you're related via blood or marriage to many people that you call "family" but you can't control much of what you get when that all comes together. And with all those people comes all types of emotion and expression and hang ups and habits and beauty and joy and love. Family can be messy sometimes. It's a great big beautiful mess. Family is there to support one another. As my sister-in-law and now brother-in-law said their vows today a room of surrounding family and friends stood as witnesses to the event. Our job is to help support them in this new step into their journey as husband and wife. There are no doubt others in the room who have been married once and that failed or thought about getting married but didn't. To them days like these can be hard. What does family do here? We surround, we encourage, we pray, we lift up. Why? Because we're family. We all have junk. We all have things that go wrong or that we aren't proud of... and that my friends it's what makes family at it's best such a beautiful mess. We love each other beyond words, though sometimes we can't stand each other, but at the end of the day, when the light fades and the shadows of that which haunts our souls creeps in like death we surround, we encourage, we pray, we lift up... because we are family. I wish nothing but joy and happiness to my sister-in-law and brother-in-law as they begin their lives together. It's my prayer that Kristin and I can be that encouragement and the help to them when they need it. I'm so thankful for family. It comes in many shapes, sizes, colors, and flavors but at the end of the day...

it's family that keeps us together.


More Than All I Am - Song Idea

Who Do You Say He Is?

In Matthew Chapter 16 jesus turns to those closest too Him and - in response to many saying that He was Elijah reincarnated - asks "Who do you say that I am?" Who do you say that He is?

Lip Worship

Matthew 15:8-9 (TNIV)
"These people honor me with their lips but, their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain their teachings are mere human rules."

This morning I was reading a bit in the gospel of Matthew for Chasing99 playing a little bit of catch up from yesterday and I came across this verse. It reminded me of some things I've been meaning to write about for a little while now about worship. I've had the unique opportunity to be involved in some various worship environments leading people in singing. Each experience has given me some different perspectives and some questions raised. I want to share them with you.

The House Show: Many of you know that I sing and write music for the band The Great Rescue (hence the blog name). Recently I had the opportunity to do an acoustic set at a house show with a could good friends of mine. All of us are Christ-followers and enjoy each others company. I set up in the living room of the home and about 20-30 people showed up for things to begin. It's been a long time since I've played a house show. The environment is always strange. There are those outside smoking their cigarettes and cloves and those inside trying to decide if they want to brave the smog on the font porch or go deaf in the living room. Since I was an acoustic set it gave a nice compromise for those in the living room. I got to meet up with some good friends I haven't seen in a long time. Some friends I needed to see.

Much of the music (if not all) that I write for The Great Rescue has to do with finding hope for the hopeless. I like writing music that can bring encouragement to those who need it and draw people toward the only source of true hope, Jesus. During the set I felt like I was healing and attending to more wounds than playing a set at a house show. There were a few with tears. Some that came to me afterwards and talked a bit about the songs with me. I was able to encourage many that night. I felt as though God had placed me in that house in that moment to minister. I was there to draw hearts toward worshiping the true King.

One gentleman in particular came in to the room that caught my eye. He had tattoos on his face and dressed like he was homeless. He stumbled over to me afterwards. It became immediately obvious that his state of consciousness had been altered a bit by drugs alcohol or a bit of both. He slurred, "Hey man that was a good set. You played the **** out of that guitar." I thanked him and we talked for a bit about my guitar playing (he thought it was great... this confirmed my suspicions about his altered state). Then he said, "You sing a lot about God." "Yeah man God changed my life." "God doesn't like me very much." "Dude, God loves you. He has a plan for your life." At this he stopped and thought for a little bit. The said, "I guess God's an OK guy then." "He loves us dude. That makes him way more than ok in my book." He looked at me glazy eyed for a second then smiled. "And God bless ******* Texas!" He started laughing. I chuckled a bit and said, "Sure, God bless Texas." He laughed and turned quickly walking out the door. I may never meet this gentleman again. He may not remember anything we talked about. I hope he does. I hope he holds on to some kernel of truth in our conversation.

I headed out of the house got in my car and made my way to my next worship environment. In this one I wasn't leading. I was participating. Or at least trying to...

The Glorious Unseen: I attend Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary and our Student Life department is pretty amazing. They bring in some amazing concerts for free for students all the time. Recently, The Glorious Unseen came and played in the new student center called "The Tilley Center". They were amazing. Ben Crist and crew lead those trying to seek after God in a night of unashamed worship. It's always a beautifully freeing thing to be in the midst of a group of Christ-Followers worshiping God publicly. There was just one problem. There were so many students in the Tilley Center not there to worship. They were talking and so loud that at some points it drowned out the band. It made it difficult to focus. Difficult to worship. There were many there more excited about seeing the band than meeting with God. I remember feeling more able to worship at the house show than I was here in at the Tilley center. Strange. It felt like God's presence was more fluid and alive in the midst of cloves and cigarettes, the hopeless, the broken, than he was in a room full of students coming to a "worship concert". I felt like I was in the middle of these verses from Matthew. I was in a room full of lip worship with no heart worship.

Tussekiah: A few nights ago The Great Rescue had the privilege of leading worship at a youth rally at Tussekiah Baptist Church in Meherrin, VA. It's a small church and there were a little more than 100 people there that night. We were fed and loved and treated better than we deserved. We were loved with the love of Christ. We played a full set of some originals that I was able to explain a bit in VH1 Storytellers style. Then we launched into a full worship set in which the youth and adults came with us in the public worship of our King.
The room ignited.

It felt as though God's presence was thicker than water in the air and the youth and adult unashamedly worshiped. It was amazing to see. It was amazing to be a a part of it.

Thoughts: In each of these three environments worship took place. Some worshiped "gods" of addiction. Others worshiped the God of restoration. Some worshiped with their lips alone. Others with their hearts open wide to heaven. Where is God most pleased?

God is most pleased when His people who are called by His name gather together and worship with their hearts close to His heart and their lips speaking His truth in love.

What about you?
Are you stuck in Lip Worship?


You Were Born For This - Summary

His New York Times phenomenon The Prayer of Jabez changed how millions pray. Now Bruce Wilkinson wants to change what they do next.

Anyone can do a good deed, but some good works can only happen by a direct intervention from God. Around the world these acts are called miracles—not that even religious people expect to see one any time soon. But what would happen if millions of ordinary people walked out each morning expectingGod to deliver a miracle through them to a person in need? You Were Born for This starts with the dramatic premise that everyone at all times is in need of a miracle, and that God is ready to meet those needs supernaturally through ordinary people who are willing to learn the “protocol of heaven.”

In the straightforward, story-driven, highly motivating style for which he is known, Wilkinson describes how anyone can be a “Delivery Guy” from heaven in such universally significant arenas of life as finances, practical help, relationships, purpose, and spiritual growth.

You Were Born for This will change how readers see their world, and what they expect God can do through them to meet real needs. They will master seven simple tools of service, and come to say with confidence, “I want to deliver a supernatural gift from God to someone in need today—and I expect to!”

This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.


Seven Faith Tribes - Book Review

Seven Faith Tribes by George Barna is a book written with the hopes of opening the eyes of any who will care to listen about who he believes are the seven faith tribes of America. The tribes are: Casual Christians, Captive Christians, American Jews, Mormons, Pantheists, Muslims, and Spiritual Skeptics.

Casual Christians are those who call themselves Christians to get a "get out of hell free card" (my words not Barna). In this group you will find no difference between the habits of the Casual Christian or the unbeliever. All of their choices are virtually identical (more can be seen on these stats in the book by David Kinnaman UNCHRISTIAN)

Captive Christians are those who take their faith seriously. They are first and foremost always filtering their lives choices from the largest to the smallest through their faith in Christ. The ratios between Casual and Captive Christians remind me of the Praeto or 80/20 principle.

American Jews' roots run deep in their heritage. They are all about where they come from and what they've had to fight through to get where they are today. They value community and bring any other Jew into the fold based on heritage.

Mormons "argue vehemently that they are a Christian" group but the deny many tenants of the Christian faith. The value family and have large families and are married longer than most Americans.

Pantheists are the group with something for everyone the "Baskin Robin's" of the group as Baran describes. Among this group Barna includes: Hindu, Buddhist, Confucian and "a wealth of groups that fall under the generic New Age banner. In general Pantheists seem more focused on better one's self than bettering the whole.

Muslims in America seem to be more of a nomadic group. They are more likely to not own their homes however are very traditional in their values and doctrines and teaching that to their children is a very important part of their home life. Muslims are more likely to have children under the age of 18 in their homes as well.

Spiritual Skeptic are as they seem. They take everything with a grain of salt but, in the end seem to be searching for something bigger than themselves.

In Seven Faith Tribes, Barna brings these groups together and pulls their strengths and weaknesses to come to a stronger place in American spirituality. He does this by pointing out our shared values and spends the rest of the book noting how we can build up the strength of these values in our households, media, etc.

This is my first Barna book and overall it was pretty hard to read. It seems that it's loaded with statistics but, not quiet as practical as I would like. Great vision. Raises some good questions about what we'll have to do to reach an UNCHRISTIAN nation.


The Prodigal Returns

Blogger - I have returned. Tumblr is no more.


My Blog Has Moved...

I've moved to www.thegreatrescue.tumblr.com
Please come check me out over there and follow me.

Dancing Goats EP

A little while back I wrote an EP called the Dancing Goats EP based on a new coffee house I tried on a whim. All these songs are a little different than what I would normally write and are inspired by the ability to try something new. You can download the EP for free at NoiseTrade.com or pay what you want for it. Regardless. Check it out. Let me know what you think. Thanks.

Check out this FREE music from The Great Rescue @NoiseTrade!http://tinyurl.com/lew5ne

Starbucks.. What Is It About That Place?

Sitting at a local Starbucks on Wards Road here in Lynchburg, Virginia. Waiting for the parent of one of our students to walk through the door to meet with me. I have to say there is just something about Starbucks. Granted my favorite coffee shop in town is the Muse Coffee Co. in Wyndhurst. It’s a locally grown shop with their own roaster and amazing employees who know your name and face and love you like family. There’s just something about Starbucks though. I can’t quite put my finger on it. Any ideas?


A Lover's Quarrel With The Evangelical Church - Book Review

A Lover's Quarrel With The Evangelical Church by Warren Cole Smith is exactly as the title describes, a lover's quarrel. The book opens with "My name is Warren, and I'm a recovering evangelical." In the book Smith offers his honest perspective of his problems with the evangelical church. What's interesting is that all the while Smith claims to be an evangelical. It's an insiders look, saying "Here are some problems I see. I don't like them but, I'm apart of this as well and I think we can come together and fix these things."

Some of the main issues Smith tackles are those of the "Christian-Industrial Complex" in which he brings up topics like Christian publishing houses, record labels, and the like that make millions of dollars a year and questions their motives.

He criticizes what he calls "Body-Count Evangelism" in which numbers become more important that the souls of those people. Smith makes a very true statement: "In the era of body-count evangelism, people become statistics. True salvations become opportunities not for joy, by for bragging." It's a sad truth that I've seen this very thing take place. Thankfully not in the church I'm currently serving. I would say it's also easy to look at the surface of some things and make judgement calls rather than seeing what happens behind the scenes. Sure there are people that slip through the cracks... I wish this wasn't the case but, the truth is in large churches it just happens sometimes. The goal is not to allow anyone to simply walk an isle and leave. We want to win people to Jesus Christ by sharing His love and message. We want to then not count them as a number for a quota, but instead grow them in their spiritual walk with Jesus Christ and then send them out to the world as representatives of the love and message of Jesus Christ they themselves came to know. I'm thankful that it's more than numbers at my church home. I'm thankful we're not a statistic and that we don't count them.

Overall Smith writes with honesty and passion towards the topics he addresses. However, there are moments when it seems that Smith is ranting more than examining and condemning more than diagnosing. Early in the book Smith is a but confusing with his writing and mentions about 4-5 items that are the "theme" of the book. I felt myself confused about what exactly the theme of the book was and wondering why my conclusions were different than the author's expressed ones. The book didn't pick up for me until about the third chapter. A Lover's Quarrel With The Evangelical Church is a decently written and raises some good questions that all evangelical churches need to examine and be reminded of.


A People's History of Christianity - Book Review

There has been a rise in recent years for people to return to their roots; to understand the inner workings of who their ancestors were discover their heritage. In the author's spiritual walk with Christ and her own study of Christian history she kept having conversations with her friends that ended up with statements like "I don't have trouble with Jesus. It's all the stuff that happened after Jesus that makes me mad." (pg.1) It is this sense of discontentment and question that caused Diana Butler Bass to write A People's History Of Christianity.

I have also expressed some discouragement, along with many of my friends, over the state of the evangelical church in the present day. There are times when we just stand back with mouths agape and eyes wide thinking out loud "How did we get to here?" It's this very question that Bass hopes to answer through A People's History Of Christianity.

A People's History of Christianity divides Christian history into five time periods: The Way (Early Christianity, 100-500); The Cathedral (Medieval Christianity, 500-1450); The Word (Reformation Christianity, (1450-1650); The Quest (Modern Christianity, 1650-1945); and The River (Contemporary Christianity, 1945-Now) and traces the social history of Christianity through those five periods. Within these periods Bass tends to highlight persons and principles that served as catalysts for movements of Christianity.

During "The Way" (Early Christianity, 100-500) "people understood Christianity primarily as a way of life in the present, not as a doctrinal system esoteric belief, or promise of eternal salvation." (pg.27) Those centuries closest to the ascension of Christ were filled with people living out Jesus' call to "come and die" on a day-to-day basis in figurative and sometimes literal ways. It would appear that this "way of life" mindset is making resurgence among many Christ-followers in the present day.

"The Cathedral" age brought about with it the rise of higher devotion to Jesus and a distancing from the institutional church. Monasticism came to a rise and more and more people were seeking true community to follow Jesus rather than the institutional church, which had become nothing more than a tyrannical theocracy. "In an age when people claim to be "spiritual but not religious," it is fashionable to downplay institutions in favor of a direct experience of the divine." (Pg.90)

"The Word" refers to the period of time in which the Guttenberg Press printed the first Bible ever. With the Word being printed and passed around this put the Word of God into the hands of the people in their own language. It made the Bible common place for society.

"The Quest" or the period of Modernity was the time in which it seemed that many were searching for truth and believed they could find it. This is a large shift into postmodern thinking in which searching is more important than finding and truth is what you make of it.

"The River" is a name given to this time period that describes the fluidity of Christianity. In our contemporary era of postmodern though truth has become what we make it. Christianity flows up and down and can fit into whatever mold I pour it into. This is all done for the purpose of ideas like the "ecumenical movement" in which people of all races, genders, denomination, sexual orientation, or creed can gather together and worship the same God all at once. Let me say this. I think that sounds like a beautiful thing. I really do. However there when it comes to some issues of theology and doctrine and biblical truth I don't budge for the sake of loving everyone. The best way for me to love someone is to sometimes confront him or her, in a loving and compassionate manner, with the hard truth of a wrong path they are traveling.

Bass effectively traces this social history of Christianity by stringing together some of her own personal encounters with each section as she herself studied Christian History in college. Some of her college experience took place in conservative theological seminaries while her PhD comes from Duke University in North Carolina. This liberal influence in her PhD work seeps through here and there in her writing as it seems throughout the book that conservative outlook is frowned upon or seen as close minded while "emerging Christianity" and "spiritual progressives" those with a more liberal view seem to shine through a bit brighter.

Bass' end desire is for Christians to understand their roots. She wants those who claim to follow Christ to know how we got to here... wherever "here" ends up being in the next few years. She longs for the readers to see an importance in knowing history and then to go and make history. (Pg. 310) Bass tends to push the reader toward a thought process that ends up on the liberal, or spiritually progressive, end of the drawing board however she does a good job of trying to stay balanced in her communicating of the topic.