Friday, March 21, 2008

N.T. Wright on Resurrection

Well, Good Friday and Easter are here again. My friend, Marc Murnane sent me a link to an article by Christianity Today that is an interview with N.T. Wright (a hero of mine). Here's a taste of what the article is about...very appropriate for Easter weekend:

March 19, 2008
N. T. Wright on Resurrection
At the National Pastors Conference in San Diego,'s Brian Lowery got to interview N. T. Wright about his latest book—Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church—and how it relates to preaching. Since we are all in the midst of the Easter journey, his words are timely, challenging, and above all else, hopeful.

Preaching Today: In your book Surprised by Hope, you talk about a deeper understanding of hope "that provides a coherent and energizing basis for work in today's world." How has that deeper understanding influenced your preaching through the years?

Bishop N. T. Wright: [Studying] the Resurrection for an earlier book, Resurrection of the Son of God … ended up rubbing my nose in the New Testament theology of new creation, and the fact that the new creation has begun with Easter. I discovered that when we do new creation—when we encourage one another in the church to be active in projects of new creation, of healing, of hope for communities—we are standing on the ground that Jesus has won in his resurrection.

New creation is not just "whistling in the dark." It's not a kind of social Pelagianism, where we try to improve things by pulling ourselves up from our own bootstraps. Because Jesus is raised from the dead, God's new world has begun. We are not only the beneficiaries of new creation; we are the agents of it. I just can't stop preaching about that, because that is where we're going with Easter.

For me, therefore, there's no disjunction between preaching about the salvation which is ours in God's new age—the new heavens and new earth—and preaching about what that means for the present. The two go very closely together. If you have an eschatology that is nonmaterial, why bother with this present world? But if God intends to renew the world, then what we do in the present matters. That's 1 Corinthians 15:58! This understanding has made my preaching more challenging to me, and hopefully to my hearers, to actually get off our backsides and do something in the local community—things that are signs of new creation."

If you'd like to read the entire article (which I highly recommend, and it's not that long), then follow the link:

Have a wonderful Good Friday and a very celebratory Easter Sunday everyone!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Catalyst Conference Clip

Hey everyone! If you haven't taken the time to watch the John Piper video I posted on Monday, please take a few minutes and check it out. Good stuff. Here's another YouTube video from the 2007 Catalyst conference. It's about 7 minutes long...but it is inspiring. Be a blessing today and stay aware of God's presence!

Monday, March 17, 2008

John Piper and the Prosperity Gospel

I just had a friend send me a link to this video. It's a visually enhanced sound bite from a message by John Piper as he talks about the prosperity gospel. It's only a couple minutes long and well worth your time. Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Confessions of a Bald Man

Some of you know…some have suspected…and some of you may have had no idea. For the last 4 years, I have been wearing a “hair system” (a sophisticated, human hair version of a “hair piece”). At the time, I was having a bit of a quarter life crisis and grew a little weary of people asking if my father and I were brothers. Either he looks younger than he is (which he does) or I look older than I am/was (which I do, without hair). Anyway, I tried several options, but ended up choosing the hair system route.

As most of you know, over the last few years Shannon and I have been going through a lot of transformation…namely, in the ways that our faith meets real life. One of those changes has taken place in the way we view our stuff. We’ve come to see our resources—possessions and finances—as belonging entirely to God. We are grateful that all of our needs have been met (and then some) and we have become aware of the extreme poverty that nearly half of the world lives in. Jesus tells us that anyone who is in need is our neighbor (Luke 10:29-37) and that we are to love our neighbor as ourselves (Luke 10:27). Experts tell us that there are enough resources in the world for everyone, but, sadly, many people don’t share what they have with those who desperately need them. And I confess that I continue to stand guilty of not loving my neighbor as myself. But, I’m working on it.

Anyway, this last weekend, I taught from Luke 3 and the call of John the Baptist to repent. His call was directed at the religious, God-fearing people, who were devout in their religious practices—more devout than most self-professing Christians today. But, John’s call was to a repentance that produced fruit. The kind of fruit he called for was radical generosity. “Got two coats? Give one away. Got more food than you need? Share with those who don’t have enough.” I challenged our church to ask what John’s message of repentance means to them. So, naturally, I have to practice what I preach.

What it all boils down to is that I’m getting rid of my hair system. It just doesn’t seem right that I spend money on fake hair while others go hungry.

Now, I’m not telling you this to boast or brag. I’m really not. In fact, many of you might be thinking, “what’s the big deal?” You’re absolutely right to feel that way. The main reason for directing you to this blog (if you got the email, that is) was just to deal with two questions that I know will come up the next time you see me:

1. Whoa. Where’s your hair?
2. Why did you get rid of it?

So, hopefully I’ve answered those questions for you. And now, before I sign off, here’s a picture of me—the real, bald me.

Be a blessing today!