Rick Warren, Jon Meacham and Tim Russert: History, Christianity, and the United States Wednesday, Apr 18 2007 

Here is a great interview with Rick Warren and Jon Meacham done by Tim Russert on Meet the Press. It addresses Christianity in America, in history and in the world today.

MTP Transcript for Dec. 24
Rick Warren, Jon Meacham
Updated: 1:17 p.m. CT Dec 24, 2006
MR. TIM RUSSERT: Our issues this Christmas Eve morning: faith in America. Can religion unite the country for the greater good? And what role will God and values play in the 2008 presidential election? With us, the pastor of one of America’s largest churches and author of the best-selling hard-cover book in U.S. history, “The Purpose Driven Life,” Dr. Rick Warren; and the editor of Newsweek magazine and author of “American Gospel: God, the Founding Fathers and the Making of a Nation,” Jon Meacham. Then, two MEET THE PRESS holiday traditions, our MEET THE PRESS MINUTE from Christmas Day 51 years ago with poet Robert Frost and a special performance by the U.S. Navy Band Brass Quartet.
But first, we are joined by Pastor Rick Warren and Jon Meacham. Welcome both, Merry Christmas.
DR. RICK WARREN: Thank you, Tim. Merry Christmas to you.
MR. RUSSERT: Jon Meacham, let me start with you. Ninety-five percent of Americans say they believe in God. (more…)

Christianity and Atheism; Rick Warren and Sam Harris in Newsweek Tuesday, Apr 10 2007 

I was sitting in class today when I noticed a Newsweek sitting on the empty chair beside me. I quickly flipped through it seeing if there was anything that caught my eye when I saw Rick Warren’s name. it seems like every time I open Newsweek they have some article on Rick Warren, his books The Purpose Driven Life / Church, or his church. This article was an interview between Rick Warren and Sam Harris, the well known atheist who has written many books on the subject. I started reading and couldn’t stop. This was a great interview that I encourage you to read, especially if you have questions about Rick Warren and his Christian faith or atheism and its worldview.

God Debate: Sam Harris vs. Rick Warren
At the Summit: On a cloudy California day, the atheist Sam Harris sat down with the Christian pastor Rick Warren to hash out Life’s Biggest Question—Is God real? A NEWSWEEK exclusive.
Newsweek
April 9, 2007 issue – Rick Warren is as big as a bear, with a booming voice and easygoing charm. Sam Harris is compact, reserved and, despite the polemical tone of his books, friendly and mild. Warren, one of the best-known pastors in the world, started Saddleback in 1980; now 25,000 people attend the church each Sunday. Harris is softer-spoken; paragraphs pour out of him, complex and fact-filled—as befits a Ph.D. student in neuroscience. At NEWSWEEK’s invitation, they met in Warren’s office recently and chatted, mostly amiably, for four hours. Jon Meacham moderated. Excerpts follow.
JON MEACHAM: Rick, since you’re the home team, we’ll start with Sam. Sam, is there a God in the sense that most Americans think of him? 
SAM HARRIS: There’s no evidence for such a God (more…)

Easter, the suffering of Jesus, and Victory Sunday, Apr 8 2007 

This past Wednesday my friend Michael Ingram shared on the Stations of the Curse during Chapel at Gordon College. His words were deep and effectual, glorifying the name of Jesus while calling all to marvel at his selfless and humble life. Michael graphically portrayed the suffering of Jesus blended with Christ’s ultimate victory at the cross in a way that could do nothing but leave one knowing the greatness of our Lord. I was deeply moved by his speech and know that you will be too. This Easter I encourage you to read and receive the words of Michael Ingram.

John Donne: Holy Sonnet XI
“Spit in my face you Jews, and pierce my side,
Buffet, and scoff, scourge, and crucify me,
For I have sinned, and sinned, and only he
Who could do no iniquity hath died:
But by my death can not be satisfied
My sins, which pass the Jews’ impiety:
They killed once an inglorious man, but I
Crucify him daily, being now glorified.
Oh let me, then, his strange love still admire:
Kings pardon, but he bore our punishment.
And Jacob came clothed in vile harsh attire
But to supplant, and with gainful intent:
God clothed himself in vile man’s flesh, that so
He might be weak enough to suffer woe.”

Few poets whet our appetite for Christ quite like John Donne… (more…)

post modern evangelism with Ed Stetzer Wednesday, Mar 28 2007 

if_i_were_to_die1.jpgEd Stetzer, Missiologist and Research Team Director at the North American Mission Board, has just posted an article on The Resurgence about the interplay between evangelism and postmodern culture. As someone with a heart for evangelism and exploring how to best present the Gospel to people in our postmodern culture this article has been very insightful. Ed Stetzer does the research and presents the facts, even the surprising ones, behind culture today then tracks back to how we can use the facts to reach people there they are at. I remember seeing Dr. Stetzer speak at the Reform and Resurge Conference last year where he said something to the effect of, “As Christians we need to seek out the questions that our culture is asking to which Jesus is the correct answer.” What he meant by this is that by examining culture we can gain insight into where people’s hearts and minds are. Then, once we find out what people care about we can show them how Jesus answers their deepest and most important questions. One example of this are the results of the surveys he has done (which are presented in his article) which show that while people do wonder about eternity, even more people wonder about meaning and purpose. As a result we can do street evangelism by asking people, “Do you long for a deeper purpose in life?” rather than, “If you were to die today…” This is not to say that asking about death and eternity is wrong but that it is not as important to people as finding more meaning.

“The Big Debate” James Dobson and Jim Wallis Tuesday, Mar 20 2007 

In a response to James Dobson’s (along with others) letter to the National Association of Evangelicals addressing the issue of NAE vice president Richard Cizik’s “relentless campaign” on global warming Jim Wallis has “invited Dobson to a debate on the question, ‘What are the great moral issues of our time for evangelical Christians?’ and suggested that a major evangelical Christian university should host it.”

I heard Richard Cizik speak at Gordon College on February 16, 2007. He showed a video called The Great Warming, a film about global warming, its effects, and our need to act to stop it. While I think that he did a fair job of talking about the need for stewardship and creation care, Richard went over the top when he said that there has been no evidence to the contrary of global warming. He did not mention that many respected scientists do not believe in global warming. I believe that we should live responsible lives of stewardship, but telling people lies in order to convince them of your opinion is a terrible way to make your point. I look forward to seeing this debate between Dr. Dobson and Jim Wallis and would love to see it take place at Gordon College.

Matt Chander, pastor of the Village Church – Family Traits 2.0 Monday, Mar 19 2007 

Matt Chandler, the pastor (who I love) of the Village Church in Highland, Texas is preaching through what their church has called Family Traits. They did this series a couple of years ago and have come back to it a second time to solidify their church once again around those things which they are closest and most important to their church as a family. Matt is an amazing preacher with depth that I have heard in very few others, never mind the fact that he is so young. He exalts Jesus, condemns sin, and encourages true life. I would encourage everyone to subscribe to this podcast, it is available at www.thevillagechurch.net.

Some quotes from Pastor Chandler from the third sermon in this series, Christian Spirituality:

“The church begins to boast in what is not ours to boast in. The truth of the Gospel, if it is anything else is this it is not about you…If it was a movie we have a seven second role in it…we are not they story, the story is the redemption and restoration of the world.”

“My call as a believer in Christ is not to built a coffee house in the church and tell everyone they should come to it, but rather to walk outside of these walls and be in coffee houses around town.”

vacation in the bahamas and theology Wednesday, Mar 14 2007 

bahamas.jpgThis week I am enjoying a wonderful vacation with my family in the Bahamas on the island of Grand Bahama. I plan to do a lot of reading, scuba diving, sailing, and swimming in the ocean, all while enjoying some much needed time away with my dad, mom, brother, and sisters. For books, I brought along Chosen for Life by Sam Storms, The Cross of Christ by John Stott and, of course, my Bible (ESV). So far Chosen for Life has been very good. As someone who just a couple of years ago would have called himself an Armenian Christian (more…)

Charles Spurgeon’s Testimony Monday, Mar 12 2007 

Reading Sam Storms’ book Chosen for Life I came across a testimony of Charles Spurgeon that sums up a much of what I have experienced over the past two years. Spurgeon writes…

One week-night, when I was sitting in the house of God, I was not thinking much about the preacher’s sermon, for I did not believe it. The thought struck me, “How did you become a Christian?” I sought the Lord. “But how did you come to seek the Lord?” The thought flashed across my mind in a moment- I should not have sought him unless there had been some previous influence in my mind to make me seek Him. I prayed, I thought, but then I asked myself, How came I to pray? I was induced to pray by reading the Scriptures. How came I to read the Scriptures? I did read them, but what led me to do so? Then, in a moment, I saw that God was at the bottom of it all. And that he was the Author of my faith, and so the whole doctrine of grace opened up to me, and from that doctrine I have not departed to this day, and I desire to make this my constant confession, “I ascribe my change wholly to God.”
–Charles Spurgeon, in his Autobiography

Martin Luther on sin and temptation Tuesday, Mar 6 2007 

Michael Foster posted this great quote from Martin Luther…

Luther said it well, “Do not suppose that abuses are eliminated by destroying the object which is abused. Men can go wrong with wine and women. Shall we prohibit and abolish women? The sun, moon, and stars have been worshipped. Shall we pluck them out of the sky.”