Showing posts from June, 2011

A Shift in our Perspective on Blessings

This song, by Laura Story, was sung by two of our praise team members yesterday at church as the musical special. It is one that I've heard many times on the radio but hearing it and seeing the lyrics yesterday morning really brought it home to me. Then as I was reading the Bible this morning I was struck by Psalm 78:25 which reads;

Man did eat the bread of angels; He sent them food in abundance.

This is a Psalm that is recounting Israel's time in the wilderness and how, even though God was so faithful to take care of them at every turn they still managed to turn their backs on Him. Even in the midst of the wilderness He was providing for their needs and was gracious enough to feed them with "the bread of angels." How often are we fed with the bread of angels and fail to see it as provision but instead find it in ourselves to complain? It is so easy to look at the Israelites and think, "What was the matter with these people, didn't they understand?" Wel…

"Put me in coach!"

I am indebted to my brother Jeff Drake for the inspiration for this post that came during a conversation we had Wednesday night after church.

One of the great sports movies of all time is Rudy. If you're unfamiliar with the story it is about a young man from a blue-collar family with dreams of playing football for the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame. The problem is, Rudy is not exactly the desired size of a top level football player and he doesn't exactly have the talent that most coaches are looking for. There is one thing that Rudy has that few of his peers possess, a huge heart and unquenchable desire to play for Notre Dame. Finally after a couple of years of junior college and a couple of more years being beat up on the practice squad he is allowed to dress out for the final game of his college career. Not only that, but in the final moments of the game the coach puts him in. The crowd is ecstatic, Rudy is ecstatic, the team is ecstatic and for a few seconds of gameplay he go…

A Thessalonian Reputation

In today's world the news media, social media and whatever you call something like TMZ, do a wonderful job at furthering people's reputation. We have to look no further than the recent reputation boost that Rep. Anthony Weiner has received due to his severe miscalculation. Then you look at someone like Lindsey Lohan who is going to have a long road to recovering her reputation after what she has done to herself and what the media has done to her. On the flip side you have people like Joe Gibbs and Billy Graham who have reputations as being stand-up, godly people. Whatever the case may be it is clear that our reputations are important because a good one is easy to loose and a bad one is hard to get away from.

In the Bible we see this point vividly in the story of the conversion of Saul in Acts 9. After Jesus appears to Saul, blinds him and sends him to find Ananias the Lord then speaks to Ananias. He tells him that he is to go to the house of Judas on a street called Straight w…

If we Throw a Spiritual Tantrum we may get a Spiritual Spanking.

Then these three men ceased answering Job, because he was righteous in his own eyes. Job 32:1

If you read the story of Job you find many things. Of course, there is the matter of Satan taking everything from him except his life. You will also find that in the beginning of his trial Job stands firm in his conviction and devotion to God. However, as the narrative moves on we see that Job begins to slip, he begins to question God and His justice. Ultimately, Job falls into the sin of self-righteousness (see the above verse) and must stand and endure a barrage of questions from God Himself.

Yesterday I found myself having a Job moment. Have I been afflicted like Job was? Not even close. Has everything been taken from me? Nope, sure hasn't. In short, like the little child that sometimes shows up in all of us, things just weren't going the way I wanted. In fact, for some time now things have not gone the way I had envisioned or desired and it may be that today follows in that patter…

Unity Among the Church.

And the congregation of those who believed were of one heart and soul; and not one of them claimed anything belonging to him was his own, but all things were common property to them (Acts 4:32).

In the world today some have estimated that there are approximately 2 billion Christians. That works out to be roughly 33% of the world's population and by all accounts that is a huge number of people who say they believe in Christ. Now, I am not going to nitpick the numbers and argue about whether many of those people are only nominally Christian or any of that. What I do want to point out is that among those 2 billion people who claim the name of Jesus Christ there are also an estimated 38,000 denominations. This number comes to us from former British aircraft engineer turned Anglican priest, David B. Barrett who used his extensive technical know-how to systematize information about the Church. Now, I'm not going to work these numbers to come up with any spectacular figure that tells…

Baby Steps with God.

Have you ever seen the movie "What About Bob?" starring Bill Murray and Richard Dryfus? Bob, played by Murray, has some kind of dramatic phobia that will not allow him to leave his own apartment with ease. His psychiatrist, played by Dryfus, encourages him to take "baby steps" to overcome his fears. Throughout the rest of the movie "baby steps" is repeated over and over and becomes Bob's mantra for success in overcoming his phobia. I remember that after seeing this movie as a kid, "baby steps" became a catch phrase around our own household. Whenever some grand task had to be accomplished it was always with "baby steps." If one of us kids were dragging after being roused from sleep it was with "baby steps" that we made it to the bathroom to brush our teeth. Over the years I have always remembered that saying and sometimes would pull it out to use in situations and, sadly, I was the only one who got it (Don't laugh, you…

"What if a church grew..."

More thoughts from the National Conversation on Revival.

On the evening of the first day of this conference Erwin Lutzer, pastor of the Moody Church, gave a talk entitled "The Eclipse of Christ in the World and His Church." Without going into too much detail about his talk I will summarize it by saying; throughout history, and particularly today, Christ has been shoved into a secondary role in the Church. He used Gnosticism, Sacramentalism, Rationalism, Historicism and Liberalism as examples of ways that Christ was removed from His throne and put in the back seat in favor of some fad of human wisdom. While Liberalism may be one philosophy that effects the Church today there is another that is, perhaps, a more sinister invader and it is one the evangelical community has embraced many times. What I'm talking about is the "Church growth" models. I'm sure many of us have heard of the Saddleback church, the Willowcreek Community and I'm sure each of you coul…

Day 1 at the National Conversation on Revival: Encountering Christ.

Today was the first of two days I will spend at the Moody Church attending the National Conversation on Revival. It would be impossible for me to give all the details in one post and I'm pretty sure I will end up writing a series of posts about some of the things addressed at this conference. The group that put this conversation together is the National Revival Network. In short, this is a group of ministers and leaders from denominations across the evangelical landscape that yearn for and have a heart for real revival in America. This movement, we'll call it, began in 2002 with the constructing of An Urgent Appeal (click to read the entire document) which is a kind of thesis on what revival is and how it happens. The theme for this particular gathering is "The Church Alive to the Glory of Christ." The underlying belief is that Christ, and His supremacy, must be at the very center of revival or renewal.

The first thing I would like to share about this conference was …

Book Review: The Fight of Our Lives

The Fight of Our Lives by William Bennett and Seth Leibsohn is not only a reflection on our country’s failures in the war on terror but also an attempt to formulate some strategies for victory.  The opening chapter is focused on the Fort Hood massacre that happened in 2009. The use of this incident, and other terrorist attacks, as case studies becomes the framework for the rest of the book. What happened? How did American respond? Why did we respond in that way? How should we have responded? These are some of the questions that Bennett and Leibsohn seek to answer in this book.
As a reader I typically don’t pick up political books but I am very glad I gave this one a shot. This book is well written and it doesn’t lose the reader in complicated political jargon or policy. Bennett and Leibsohn also make an effort to be as even-handed as possible in their critique of American policy makers. It seems that the modus operandi of many conservative writers today is to simply take aim at Preside…

The Lord's Sample

I want you to take just a moment right now and remember what you had for supper last night. Go ahead, really think about it. Remember the meal you ate and how you ate it. Did you get in a line of people and wait to get a stale scrap of some bread-like substance and a swig of grape juice? I sure hope not.

Now let me assure you that all that I am about to say IS NOT directed at any one church because every church I've ever been to does this the same way. What I am trying to do in this post is bring to light something that I think is a tragedy in the church. "What is that tragedy?" you ask. Well, you may have already guessed it...communion, a.k.a "The Lord's Supper."

I just can't help but wonder, at what point in history did The Lord's Supper turn into a mass sampling of really bad food. Typically, the modern version of Communion is some variation on the following theme. The pastor, or deacon, or elder, or whoever, reminds the congregation of the stor…