My Review of Wholly Jesus

Ampelon Publishing was very kind to send me a copy for review.


If the Bhuddha, Krishna, and Jesus were all at a dinner table together...

they would not be arguing, they would be worshiping Jesus.
John Mark Reynolds


Resources for Church Planting

From Ed Stetzer

Dancing in China

Go sis!

The Gospel Coalition

Tomorrow morning I head to the Gospel Coalition Conference.

Here's the intro video:


and least importantly, I'll be twittering my occasional thoughts.


Sunday School on Steroids

Listen to 


teach theology!

Guidelines For Loving Amidst Differences

From Piper to his staff:
  • Let’s avoid gossiping.
  • Let’s identify evidences of grace in each other and speak them to each other and abouteach other.
  • Let’s speak criticism directly to each other if we feel the need to speak to others about it.
  • Let’s look for, and assume, the best motive in the other’s viewpoint, especially when we disagree.
  • Think often of the magnificent things we hold in common.
  • Let’s be more amazed that we are forgiven than that we are right. And in that way, let’s shape our relationships by the gospel.

  • Fathers: Be Wary of "Replacement Glory"

    From Buzzard, quoting Tripp.
    A man will forget that, as a father, he has been welcomed to the transcendent glory of being part of God's work of forming human souls. Instead he will buy into the replacement glory of career success. More and more, his life will be eaten up and defined by his work. Less and less will his sense of purpose have to do with the formative community that only he can offer his children. Sadly, his children cease to be one of the joyful focuses of his living and become an obligation in an already-too-busy schedule. Less and less do his children know him, respect him, trust him, or feel his love.


    The Apple of Christ's Eye; The Apple of Mine

    In an interview, pastor Bill Kittrell had this answer:
    I remember the story you tell, C.J., of someone asking you after your daughter Nicole was born, “I bet Nicole is the apple of your eye?” And C.J. you responded by saying, “No, my wife Carolyn is the apple of my eye.”

    I learned from this counsel (20+ years ago) how to lead my home with an emphasis on my relationship with Cheri. Now that my kids are growing up, getting married, and dumping me like a bad habit, I am grateful that Cheri is my best friend. I am grateful for all the times we have invested in our relationship over all other relationships.

    C.J. you have also said that most men fail in cultivating romance with their wives because they fail to put their plans for romance in the calendar (which is required to make sure the above happen).
    I want to be more like this with my wife...

    Our High Places

    From Kevin De Young, a former classmate.
    ...when it comes to the entertainment choices of the vast majority of Christians in the vast majority of our churches my strong impression is that there is little difference between what we take in and what the rest of the world goes to for a good time.


    O, It Was Necessary

    More from Ann.
    And when I rub the marinate into the lamb, blood ponding on plate,
    I think of socially acceptable religion, inoffensive theology
    and my nostrils fill with the stench of my sin,
    and my beating heart hurts for the only God whose wild love
    had him tear open a vein and do the repulsive,
    become a lamb dragged to the slaughter
    without theoutrageous shedding of blood
    there is no cleansing of my gory mess.

    He Is Alive

    From Ann Voskamp, who says it better than I.

    I was unfamiliar with the painting before coming across it in one of the last galleries,
    shadowed and empty.
    But in that startling quiet, I looked into those alive, ancient eyes and there was an instant recognition, electrifying, of that hardly-belief, that aching-hope, the feet running to tomb,
    now empty and shadowed.

    And all the world flooding with the new dawning.


    Our Example

    Getting the Cross All Wrong

    Here's how some are "celebrating" Good Friday.
    CUTUD, ANGELES CITY - Dozens of Catholic devotees were nailed to crosses, scores more whipped their backs and others chanted the Passion of Jesus Christ as Filipinos mixed faith and gory ritual on Good Friday.
    To be fair to the Catholic churches, they do not encourage or condone the behavior.  In fact, I'm well-aware that people in your church don't always listen to or practice your teaching!

    But the point is this.  Those poor people, in punishing themselves, have completely missed the point of the cross.  They don't yet realize that Jesus suffered God's wrath - so that I will never have to.  He suffered God's displeasure - so that I might have peace with God.  He suffered God's hatred - so that I might know God's love.

    You might not be whipping yourself today, but your focus might be on your performance rather than Christ's propitiation.  Don't miss the point of the cross.
    For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5.21)
    But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. (Romans 3.21-26)


    Our Expiation

    The God of Suspense

    From Ed Welch:
    God tells us up front that he is the God of suspense...he assures us that there will be times when we feel surrounded, facing insurmountable odds with no apparent way out.  That, in fact, is part of his good plan for us.  He also tells us that he will bring us to the end of our own cleverness because that is when we are most apt to acknowledge his strong hand alone. (p. 84)

    Sometimes This Is All You've Got

    1 Chronicles 22.16
    Arise and work!  The Lord be with you!


    Offending My Offense

    Abraham has a magnificent point.
    When my feelings are hurt, I expect an apology.  Instead, I should probably offer one.

    Unless my feelings define what's right, I'm as likely to be in the wrong by being offended as I am by offending.


    A Brilliant Man With Great Thoughts On An Important Topic

    Gender roles, church, and culture.  Tough, essential topics.

    D. A. Carson has two outstanding lectures on these issues.  Must-listen stuff.

    For Marriage And Family

    Great books and other resources recommended by Mark Driscoll.

    I can personally concur with most of them.


    Leading Our Kids To Knowing Jesus

    Important resource for parents!

    1. Genuine Salvation: More Than a Prayer

    2. How Children Come to Faith in Christ

    3. Taking Our Children to Church: Is That Enough?

    4. How to Deal With Doubt

    5. Observing Salvation in Your Child: What Does It Look Like?

    6. The Family: No Better Place to Come to Know Christ!

    Transcripts are also available at the bottom of each of these pages’ links.

    I cannot recommend these talks enough to any parent wanting to be thoughtful, careful, and prayerful in the salvation of their children.

    April Fools?

    Depends how you look at it.
    Ecumenical News International reports that church authorities in the Netherlands have decided not to take action against a Dutch pastor who openly declares himself to be an atheist.
    That "pastor" says, 
    The non-existence of God is for me not an obstacle but a precondition to believing in God. I am an atheist believer...God is for me not a being but a word for what can happen between people. Someone says to you, for example, 'I will not abandon you', and then makes those words come true. It would be perfectly alright to call that [relationship] God.
    No. No it wouldn't.

    From Al Mohler

    Is This For Real? Is It This Easy?

    Rick Warren, whom I respect, looks loony with this one.

    Two thousand years ago - the Day of Pentecost was the first day of the Christian Church. Acts 2:41 tells us, "About 3,000 people were baptized and joined the church that day."  If you'll join us this weekend, history could be repeated at Saddleback!  Want to make history?


    Which of these requirements do you need to complete this Saturday?

    1.  Open your heart to Jesus Christ. Click here to learn more.

    2.  Attend Class 101: Discovering Your Church Family. Sign up.

    3.  Sign our membership covenant (explained in class).

    4.  Be baptized the way Jesus commanded and modeled for us.






    1.  I'm personally teaching Class 101 for the first time in ten years.


    2.  I'm personally baptizing after Class and you'll receive a photo & baptism certificate.


    3. You'll get a free one year subscription to Purpose Driven Connection magazine.  (Never offered before)


    4. You'll get free copy of The Purpose Driven Church book.


    5. Your name will be included in the historical list of Saddleback Pioneer Members who joined in our first 30 years.  (This Easter is our 30th Easter and I want you included in this list.)


    6. The class is 1 hour shorter than normal. You can watch session 3 here online now.


    7. You'll be a part of making Christian history!  The largest membership class ever!


    8. We love you & want you in our family. There is no good reason to procrastinate.

    Should conversions happen because people "want to make history" or because "Rick is teaching the class and baptizing and you can get a free photo and book"?  Can conversions happen like this?  Conversions to Jesus Christ, that is?

    Where's the Gospel in this invitation?  We can hope it's in the class I suppose...

    I can't help but think of 2 Corinthians 4.
    But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God's word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone's conscience in the sight of God.And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled only to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
    True conversion is (and this obviously is not the only way to say it) when the Holy Spirit of God regenerates the unbelieving heart so that, according to Biblical truth, that heart sees, turns towards, and trusts in the glory of Jesus and His cross and turns away from the wretchedness of sin.  That certainly could, by God's grace happen with Warren's efforts.  But it cannot be manufactured by them.  To me, Warren's invite seems to be missing gospel truth, gospel power, and gospel motivation.