Sunday, December 30, 2007

Another Good Sunday at Christchurch

Many thanks to Aaryn and Maleah Sanchez for leading our music today at Christchurch. It was a joy to sing praises to God with you and God's people this morning.

Many thanks also to friend and CCU professor Phil Mitchell for preaching from Luke 13:20-21 this morning. Like yeast, the kingdom of God is often obscure to human eyes. Jesus followers will always be very small compared to the world. But that tiny number is more influential in the world than any others. Like yeast, the kingdom of God is universal. Yeast works its way through all the bread dough. And Christianity is impacting the entire world, as nearly 3000 language groups worshiped the Lord Jesus this Christmas. What encouragement and hope we find in God's Word!

After a fun lunch with the Brandt family after church to say thanks for Ericka's faithful service to our little kids at Christchurch this year, we are now home. Meg's started writing and I'm going to go work out at the gym. Then I'll probably start studying Isaiah again. A good day.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Book Review: Preaching & Preachers

Do you ever wonder what preachers talk about when they get together? Like most people, they talk about the weather, their wife and kids, and recent developments in the sporting world. But if a man is a preacher, he wants to talk about preaching with other preachers. If a man is a preacher, he is overwhelmed by the enormity of his calling. He feels a great need to learn from other preachers, especially the great preachers in Jesus' church. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones was a great preacher in the mid-20th century. His pulpit was at Westminster Chapel in London. And this book is a collection of his 1971 lectures to seminary students at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia. It's a classic.

Lloyd-Jones and I don't agree on everything. For instance, I've just finished publishing a newsletter for my church and in it I outline my sermon schedule for the next 2-3 months. Lloyd-Jones would NEVER do such a thing. Read the book to find out why. He's an interesting combination of anti-legalism and passionate dogmatism on secondary preaching issues like this one.

But Lloyd-Jones and I do agree on nearly everything else related to preaching.
Lloyd-Jones is a champion of biblical exposition. He deplores pulpiteering and our modern emphasis on oratorical methods. Lloyd-Jones repeatedly reminds his hearers/readers that the real spiritual results of the preaching ministry are not usually immediately evident. The primacy of preaching is central in his theology of the church. I would have loved to hear D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones preach.

This book reads like a collection of preaching lectures, which is exactly what it is. Chapters/lectures on the preacher, the congregation, the sermon, the act of preaching, illustrations, humour (note the British spelling) and preparation are extremely helpful even today. Books like this are also of great help to church members who want to cultivate a deeper understanding and appreciation of the ministry of preaching in their church.

If any preachers are reading this far I would like to know if you've ever read or heard D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones and what you think of him.

If any of my church members are reading this far I would love to loan you this preaching text or any of a number of others I have in my library. Just ask!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Friday in Red River

I've pirated wireless internet this morning, so today there are no more $2/hour charges to post my ruminations.

It is sunny and cold on this Friday in Red River, New Mexico. For all the latest news from my favorite New Mexico cowboy ski town, check out the Red River Miner.

When the temps top 20 degrees, I'll probably head up the mountain to the Enchanted Forest Cross Country Ski Area for a little workout.

Let's see...what else should I do today? Here's a plan: Eat, ski, read, nap, eat, play games with the kids, eat, study Isaiah, pray, sleep.

I'm living the dream here.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Dodging Bull Elk

Last night about 10:30pm, our trusty MPV dodged a bull elk about this size. We had just turned left at Fort Garland and were headed south toward San Luis, on our way to Meg's folks place in Northern New Mexico. With a nearly full moon and clear sky we could see him very well against the snowy sagebrush. He was about the size of a moose. Huge. Definitely would have set off the airbags if we had hit him. But he was moving across the highway at about 30 MPH himself, so it turned out well for all of us.

Today, we are hanging out with Meg's folks in Red River, New Mexico. It's our favorite little cowboy ski town. I'm paying $2/hour to use the wireless internet at the Mountain Treasures coffee shop and art gallery. And it's still snowing!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas!

video
Sophie is on the far right in the second row.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Screaming 10 Year-Old Girls

I didn't sleep that well last night. Maybe it was because of the pack of screaming 10-year-old girls that have invaded my house for Anna's Birthday Party/Sleep-over.

I think we made a mistake when we did the piƱata first, followed immediately by cookie cake, ice cream and lemonade. The sugar-buzz they got lasted way too long. At 3:30am, Meg had to go downstairs and tell the ones playing flashlight tag that it was time to go to bed.

Now they've all crashed and are sprawled across my living room floor. Their parents are scheduled to pick them up at 9:30am. I hope they get over their "happy-birthday hangover" by then.

Friday, December 21, 2007

A Dark Day

According to the US Naval Observatory, winter officially starts at 7:22pm tonight. The obsessiveskier is celebrating in his own way.

During my celebration this dark morning I learned from wikipedia that our winter solstice falls somewhere between yesterday and Sunday. Check out this graphic and see if you can figure it out:

In my opinion, the coolest thing about this time of year is that the snow doesn't melt as fast.

In other news:

Today is Anna & Sophie's last day of school before the winter break. WOOHOO!

Tonight is Anna's 10th Birthday Party. WOOHOO!

Tomorrow were planning to ski A-Basin. WOOHOO!

And on top of all that, snow is in the forecast.

If that doesn't call for a little spontaneous blog-style worship, I don't know what does!

Praise God from whom all blessings flow,
Praise Him all creatures here below,
Praise Him above ye heavenly host,
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Amen.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Lion Shall Eat Straw?

This morning I'm studying Isaiah 11, getting ready for Sunday's sermon. The last clause of Isaiah 11:7 in the ESV says "And the lion shall eat straw like an ox." My next thought was, "Is that really what it says in the Hebrew?" So, I got out my Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon for a little word-for-word comparative study. Yep. Word for word, that's what the Hebrew text of Isaiah says.

I wonder how Isaiah's first readers responded when they first read this. Lions roamed the ancient Near East at that time. When people traveled 2700 years ago, most of them walked.

Some people in Isaiah's day got attacked by lions and eaten. Those stories got around fast.

My parents tell me stories of hearing lions in the night, just outside their tent/cabin, while they were on a photo safari in the Serengeti in Africa. I'd love to see lions like that someday.

In March, I took Meg and our girls to the Field Museum in Chicago where the Tsavo Lions are on display. The photo above is of the Tsavo Lions, now just mounted skins.

They were maneaters.

These two maneless male lions that ate nearly 140 railroad workers in 1898. It was Lt. Col. John Henry Patterson's job to hunt and kill them. Can you imagine taking that assignment? Here is a photo of Patterson shortly after he killed the first lion, which was more than 9 feet long.


Isaiah 65 speaks of a new heavens and a new earth. In heaven, God's people will live with Him forever in glorified bodies. Jesus had a body like that when he ate fish with his disciples in Luke 24:41-43. Jesus had a real body. And one day there will be will be a New Heavens and New Earth, and it bet it will have animals like these two maneless male lions. But instead of fearing that they will eat me and my kids, we'll be able to play with them. That's just one example of the kind of peace our Messiah Jesus will bring when he comes again.

As you prepare for Christmas and remember Jesus first coming as a baby, take time to remember that he's coming again. And when he does come again, things will be so different. The lion shall eat straw like an ox.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The Dead Theologians Society

Do you know John Knox? Would you like to get to know him? You can!

Every Wednesday morning at 7:30am, you'll find me and a small group of my nerdy friends at Panera in Superior. We read sermons from pastors and theologians who are now dead, but whose written words still impact the world. We eat bagels and drink coffee. We laugh together. We pray for one another and our churches. We're always open to newcomers. Today we read a bit of a sermon from John Calvin. We won't meet on December 26th, but we will meet on January 2 to study the fiery John Knox. For more info, visit www.deadtheologians.org or post a comment.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

New Testament Greek 101

Today I graded the final exams for the New Testament Greek class I've been teaching. What a joy it was to see my students translating on their own. Now I pray that they will keep working on their Greek. My love for God has grown through my study of His Word in the Greek New Testament. My church is also benefiting as I make fewer exegetical mistakes when preaching and teaching.

Here's a great book that I use often to keep up with my New Testament Greek and to cultivate my affections for God.



The Greek text that underlies the New International Version as reconstructed by Edward Goodrick and John Kohlenberger III, along with word definitions in footnotes for all words that occur thirty times or less in the New Testament.

Ideal for Greek students and pastors, this volume saves time and effort in studying the Greek New Testament. By eliminating the need to look up definitions, the footnotes allow the user to read the Greek text more quickly, focusing on parsing and grammatical issues.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Volunteering at Superior Elementary School

Monday mornings are a lot of fun for me since I serve as a parent volunteer in both Anna & Sophie's classes at Superior Elementary School. The girls have great teachers who make it easy for me to drop in and help out. I've really enjoyed developing relationships with the kids, teachers and other parents at the school. Public education isn't perfect, but our family's experience at Superior Elementary has been great so far.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Another Good Sunday at Christchurch







Worshiping God was a pleasure today at Christchurch.

Many thanks to Robbie Hunter for leading us in music, to Randy Brandt for leading us by preaching, and to our friends and family for worshiping God in spirit and truth at Christchurch today.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Skating

If you haven't gone ice-skating yet this winter, you need to take out your calendar and schedule a trip to the rink. I spent a few hours this afternoon holding hands with Anna & Sophie, taking laps around the Boulder Valley Ice Rink here in Superior. The Superior Chamber of Commerce hosted a free "Skate with Santa" event today. The girls both saw lots of friends from school there. It was the sort of thing that gets you in the mood for Christmas. Good times.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Hurts and the Holidays


Once again, I've seen a significant increase in pastoral care calls during this time of year. Even though Christchurch is new and small, it is made up of real people who have real hurts. While the holidays are a wonderful time of year, they are also often reminders of real losses that my people have experienced in their lives. Cold, gray days and long, dark nights sometimes add to a mournful mood in the midst of the Christmas season. But as Isaiah 9 and Matthew 4 remind us, "the people dwelling in darkness have seen a great light, and for those dwelling in the region and shadow of death, on them a light has dawned."

"Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted." - Jesus, Matthew 5:4 (ESV)

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Partnership Development Workshop

New churches like Christchurch need partners in the gospel like those that Paul talks about in Philippians 1:6. Today I'm at the Colorado Baptist Convention's office building in Centennial, gleaning insights on developing partnerships from Randy Chesnut, director of Cleveland Hope, a 3 year partnership strategy that has helped launch 12 new churches in that area in the last 24 months. Pray for me and for Christchurch to approach developing church-planting partnerships in a way that honors Jesus.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Snow, snow, snow, snow, snow

Thank God, who rules over all creation, for bringing snow to Summit County this week!  The more than 23 inches of powder that have fallen in the last 3 days at Arapahoe Basin are a gift of God's common grace to all skiers and riders.  Montezuma Bowl must be scheduled to open soon.  Keep praying for snow!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

The Tree Is Up!

Our friends the Bootons had a tree cutting party at their property in the mountains on Sunday, so we have another authentic Colorado Christmas tree this year.  Dave & Juli are creating "defensible space" around their log cabin home, just in case a fire comes along some day.  This beauty is actually the top 7.5 feet of a 45 foot blue spruce.  It came down and got tied to the top of our van in less than 5 minutes thanks to Dave's superior tree spotting skills and his 3 foot chain saw.  Tonight after dinner, the Kelly family put on some Christmas music and trimmed the tree.  Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Not Bad Today at Winter Park

Jason Depew twisted my arm today and made me go skiing with him at Winter Park. Amazingly, the winds we had along the Front Range today were not blowing at Winter Park Ski Area. It was warm and not much terrain was open, but we used our free tickets from the Warren Miller movie and there we no lines and we got in quite a few runs. The best part of the day, aside from hanging out with Jason, was when the Ski Patrol decided to open the "Bash" run just below the Sunspot Restaurant. Unskied this year until today, we had thick powder over our boots, sometimes to our knees. After 2 runs clipping the tops of mini-trees and watching my fat skis float through the thickening snow, my summer legs were beat. Thanks, Jason, for making my job as a church planter/pastor quite a bit more enjoyable this week!