Category Archives: Christian Life

The Monday Muse: Pursuing Purity

Like this weekend’s U.S. Open golf championship, the previous Monday Muse was taken into a “sudden death playoff.” We’ve had some great discussion so far dealing the compatibility of evolution and the Christian faith. Let me encourage everyone to continue the debate because I think it has a lot of implications. I am quite appreciative of everyone who has participated so far. It has turned out to be our best discussion yet.

This week’s question takes us in a little different direction. Yesterday our Sunday school class got into a discussion about pursuing the truth which entails pursuing purity in all of its forms. We said that what we take in certainly has an impact on our lives. Think media of all sorts. The tougher decision comes when we must choose which things cross the line and which things do not. Where do we draw the line with which movies we watch and don’t watch, what music to listen to and not listen to, etc. So I ask you…

Where do we draw the line as it relates to pursuing purity without being legalistic? What are some determining factors? Does it even matter?

On 2 on 2…ready…break! (think football huddle)

Continuing with Evolution…

Last week’s Monday Muse discussion on evolution never quite got off the ground though it had a good start. My friend Jordan Marshall got things rolling with an argument for evolution as the best system or theory in relation to scientific research and inquiry. Jordan is a scientist so he has firsthand, working knowledge of the theory of evolution and the natural sciences. I want to continue this discussion again this week in the hopes that it will pick up a little steam. So here’s the question again…

Can a Christian honestly believe in evolution? Is Christianity and evolution compatible?

We’ll continue the discussion at its original location from last week. Carry on.

The Monday Muse: Evolution

A month or so ago, Annie and I went with our friends Matt and Steph to see the documentary on Intelligent Design called Expelled. I am still planning on sharing a few thoughts from that experience, but it did give me a good Monday Muse question. So here goes…

Can a Christian honestly believe in evolution? Is Christianity and evolution compatible?

I have heard of several Christian scientists (among others) who believe in evolution in some form. The most prominent person I am familiar with who believes in evolution is Alister McGrath (if I am not mistaken on that point). So it seems that people find some compatibility between the two. Can that be possible? Now it’s your turn…

Maria Chapman Memorial Service

Here is a touching clip from the memorial service of Maria Chapman.

(HT: Tim Challies)

Traveling, Gas Prices, and a Lack of Sleep

Well…I haven’t had a whole lot of time to post anything recently. We took off last Friday to attend a wedding back in Michigan and have been scrambling ever since we returned. Annie’s cousin Lisa married her high school sweetheart after 6 years of dating. It was a beautiful wedding that included heartfelt prayers, Scripture reading by the parents, and personal vows written by the bride and groom. It was a great celebration.

Lisa’s wedding was the second wedding we have attended in the past three weeks. We drove up to Chicago a few weeks ago to see Annie’s friend Sarah get married. With gas prices being so outrageous, you find out real quick how expensive traveling can be. Coming from Tennessee, gas prices only get worse the further north your travel. Who gets the award for highest gas price for the month? Drum roll…Grand Haven, MI. I had to fill my tank up at a smooth $4.17 a gallon. Just ridiculous. I remember when I could fill up my scooter in high school at $.79 a gallon. Man…I sound old. One thing is for sure…I have hit my traveling quota for a little while anyhow. I’m ready for a lazy weekend.

Pray for me today if you think about it. I am preaching tonight at our midweek service. We’ll be looking at the first chapter of Haggai and reevaluating our priorities. With all of the traveling, I haven’t had as much time to study as I would have liked (which means I was up pretty late last night). Nonetheless, I love the book of Haggai and look forward to preaching it. It has already made me think about that which is of first importance.

The Monday Muse: Stimulus Check

The news that each of us would be receiving an economic stimulus check in the mail was music to my ears. At first glance it seems like free money. And since we had to pay the government during tax time, this seemed to even things out. Of course we must remember that nothing is free. We are receiving this money only after each of us have paid numerable taxes on the money we worked for. So it is almost like fools gold. In any case, like many people I began to think of how we might use this money. What is the wisest thing to do? Is it different for different people and different circumstances? Is there a best case scenario as it relates to Christians using this money?

John Piper says we should make much of Christ with this check by thinking of how we might help someone in need or fund a person’s ministry. Tim Challies turned to David Kotter, Executive Director of The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood and a former economics teacher, for advice on how to think Christianly about the economic stimulus payments. So…

How should we think concerning the use of the economic stimulus check? Does it even matter?

I’m not asking anyone to share the specifics of their spending in regards to this money (though you are welcome to do so if it helps support your point). I simply want to strike up a little dialogue on whether or not we should be thoughtful in how we use this “extra” money.

The Calling of Present Circumstances

I have been reading Edmund Clowney’s book Called to the Ministry for several weeks now. Though it is a small book, I have had little time to dive into it. As I have slowly worked through it, I have found numerous little gems. Anyone who knows me has endured several discussions on the topic of calling. I believe this word and concept has been stretched significantly. Some people use “calling” and “the will of God” interchangeably. I find this synonomous usage to be problematic on several levels. What does “calling” refer to? How broadly should it be applied?

Clowney takes the first half of the book to establish the Christian’s primary calling to God. A person cannot consider calling on any level prior to or outside of the preeminent calling to God himself. God calls people to faith in Him through repentance and belief in Jesus Christ first and foremost. Clowney establishes this point quite well.

In particular, I found the following passage to be both sobering and convicting. Speaking of our calling to service, Clowney says:

What opportunities do you perceive? The first doors are in the room where you are. The has given you a certain set of present circumstances. Paul refers to this as a man’s “calling” (I Cor. 7:17). Like the heritage of an Israelite in the land, it is the “lot” or “portion” that the Lord gives you today. Here you must begin; indeed, here you must be willing to remain until other doors of opportunity are perceived and opened. The surest way to miss future opportunities is to ignore present ones. Perhaps this lesson is hardest to learn for those who are preparing for future service. Since education has gained such importance in our culture, young people often spend years being educated before any purpose in their education becomes apparent.

Meaningless course-taking becomes a way of life, more real than the vaguely conceived future, but yet not life in earnest. To conclude that the major decisions affecting the course of life must be made under such circumstances can be depressing indeed. It is heartening to remember the promises of God’s faithfulness, but action is needed, too. In the student’s calling, there are today’s opportunities which God sets before us to prepare us for those of tomorrow. In the lonely student you befriend, the confused roommate you encourage, the article for the college paper that you write, or the Sunday School class you teach may lie the key to your future. It is in the service that you render whether in the classroom orout of it that your gifts are proved and manifested.

But you must seize the opportunity in the soberness of wisdom and the zeal of love.

Though Clowney uses students as an example, I believe these words apply to many of us. Too often we can be caught looking past our present circumstances by putting our hope and worth in future “realities.” We can treat everything leading up to that point as a stepping stone, a means to an end. However, let us always consider how we might serve God in the present. Let us not look past the opportunities and needs of the many people who cross our paths on a daily basis.

The Monday Muse: Church Programs

Following a good discussion on evangelism last week and the prompting of my friend Matt, this week’s question builds from where we left off.

Do church programs help or hurt efforts to promote godliness in our everyday lives?

I posed this question at the end of last week’s discussion in regards to evangelism. To take it a little further, I want to apply it to many other areas. Do programs help or hurt our efforts to promote healthy time in the Word, prayer, meditation on Scripture, evangelism, and service in our everyday lives? This is a wide open question so feel free to be as thorough as you like. And as always, be sure to support your claim.

We are the Beggars

My friend Matt Burns has written an excellent two part series (Part 1 and Part 2) that seeks to view the homeless through a biblical lens. He identifies several types of homeless people and then poses this question: “So now I ask you , fine readers, what do you do? Do you give them the cash? Do you ignore them and walk on by?”

In Part 2, Matt writes about the similarities between the homeless and everyone else on this planet. We approach God for salvation like the homeless approach people for money on the street. As Brennan Manning says, “We are the beggars at the foot of God’s door.” In the end, I would contend that we should be beggars at the foot of the cross. If we find ourselves in that position, we will find a God of love who has satisfied his holy wrath and judgment on his own Son. We will find a God, the God, who never turns away a beggar.

The Monday Muse: Calling

I have wrestled with the issue of calling for several years beginning with a class I took my junior year in college. It was a class for ministry students who were preparing for service in the church. One day we discussed the difference between being “called” and being “led.” The professor explained that a “leading” was more general while “calling” was more specific. So many of us in his class were being led into the ministry but our calling might not yet be determined (senior pastor, para-church, missionary, etc.). Personally, I find this answer unsatisfactory. And I think this is a question many of us ask though maybe it is phrased a little differently. It doesn’t only relate to vocation but vocation seems to be the greatest catalyst for this type of discussion or thinking. So my question for this week goes like this:

What is calling and how do we determine what we are “called” to do or be?