Tuesday, July 24, 2012



      Tim's bookshelf: read


The Jesus I Never Knew

The Great Divorce

The Lightning Thief

Our Iceberg Is Melting: Changing and Succeeding Under Any Conditions

Organic Church: Growing Faith Where Life Happens

The Imitation of Christ

Practice of the Presence of God

The Global Achievement Gap: Why Our Kids Don't Have the Skills They Need for College, Careers, and Citizenship--and What We Can Do About It

Inside Out: Real Change Is Possible If You're Willing to Start from The..

Becoming a True Spiritual Community: A Profound Vision of What the Church Can Be

Influencer: The Power to Change Anything

Wooden on Leadership: How to Create a Winning Organizaion

Coach Wooden's Leadership Game Plan for Success: 12 Lessons for Extraordinary Performance and Personal Excellence

To Kill a Mockingbird

Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth

Greek New Testament-FL

The Ragamuffin Gospel: Good News for the Bedraggled, Beat-Up, and Burnt Out



The Street Lawyer




Monday, May 2, 2011

Northern California Christian Leader's Summit: Where are the Children?

Where are the Children?

Henry Ward Beecher, Pastor and social activist
"Children are the hands by which we take hold of heaven"

English proverb
"The soul is healed by being with children."

John W. Whitehead, Founder, Rutherford Institute
"Children are the living messages we send to a time we will not see."

Wess Stafford, President, Compassion International
"Every child you encounter is a divine appointment."

As was said many times on Saturday, children are our future and that Jesus said that their faith is the faith we should seek. Yet as passionate as we are about our own flesh and blood, is the general church population as concerned about another's child as they should be in light of God's love for them and the truths we know? Can we trust Him by faith and by deeds that He will aid us with a fresh and Spirit empowered start?
  • What message do we as Christian leaders need to communicate to our congregations in order to begin a change process that will take a child from pre-birth all the way to their destinies as Christian Leaders who will continue to seek the Kingdom?
  • Can we re-institute that change process in the lives of our children that prior generations were so generous in giving to us?
  • Can we be genuine in asking God for both His forgiveness and cry out to him in personal and corporate repentance for not maintaining and re-imagining that process?
Please answer or expand on these questions in your comments and especially the following questions that we were determined to, but did not have a chance to pose during the summit:
  1. Compassion International showed us a "Pre-birth to Christian Leaders" model of discipleship and care for children that they have created. What might such a model look like in our community and in our churches?
  2. How do I achieve comfort as a pastor or Christian leader with Counselors that I am referring young people to in view of the common worldly viewpoints of even "Christian" psychologists?
  3. How do pastors deal with the foster care system and protect children and families in the process?
  4. What resources are available to pastors and church leaders for counseling youth and children in the Bay Area and Northern California?
Thank you in advance for God's work in you that will express itself as the Light of the World in children's lives (Matthew 5:16).

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Pendulum or Plumb Bob?

A friend of mine from college expressed frustration recently about controversy in the church carried too far. The subject was the inerrancy of the Bible. There was a great deal of this back in the 1980's, but for most Christians it has passed. It now divides what we call moderate and conservative Christians. I believe that it has pulled the teeth from the preaching of the moderates because they cannot speak with the authority that Jesus and the church have been renowned for generations for. Yet it has also been expanded in a way that it was never meant to be. This is the frustration that my friend wrote about. My response is the balance that I have sought over the years.

Sometimes I think that we need to ignore the controversy and just be givers of radical grace, that is controversy enough for me. The pendulum always swings and man will always write the latest type and version of the Talmud, adding to God's Word, as if God is not able to speak for Himself. I prefer the plumb-bob to the pendulum and I try to keep it centered over the heart of Christ and His redemption- the essence of the gospel.

Perhaps we should simply seek "plumb-bob faith."

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Rug Pulled Out

It has happened to all of us. We are happily going about our life's business, all of our plans going smoothly, and then with a sound like an earthquake, the rug gets pulled right out from under us. Now when this happens in life we think of things like divorce, the realization that a child is not who we thought he/she was and is involved in a terrible relationship or drugs. It is affairs, alcoholism, and all kinds of life’s mayhem coming from quarters that are simply not expected. We always see this as a negative thing, but it is not always negative.

You see sometimes it is truth that pulls the rug out from under our perceptions. Jesus was the Master of many things, but his communicating of "rug pulling" truth may have been His greatest skill.
Matthew 5:43-48 (HCSB)
43 “You have heard that it was said, Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.
44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,
45 so that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. For He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.
46 For if you love those who love you, what reward will you have? Don’t even the tax collectors do the same?
47 And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing out of the ordinary? Don’t even the Gentiles do the same?
48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Love must be radical and far outside our comfort. Just as then, today men work constantly to make the words "Love your Neighbor" more comfortable while Jesus works to pull the rug out from under us.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Walking By Faith

August 2009

I was today reminded today by Pastor Tullian Tchividjian of a dialogue between John Chrysostom and the empress Eudoxia when Chrysostom was brought before her and put on trial.

“You cannot banish me, for this world is my Father’s house.”

“But I will kill you,” said the empress.

“No, you cannot, for my life is hid with Christ in God,” said John.

“I will take away your treasures.”

“No, you cannot, for my treasure is in heaven and my heart is there.”

“But I will drive you away from your friends and you will have no one left.”

“No, you cannot, for I have a Friend in heaven from whom you cannot separate me. I defy you, for there is nothing you can do to harm me.”

Chrysostom knew the utter freedom of faith in the One True God and our Savior, Jesus Christ. Walk by faith my friends.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Living In Spiritual Power

July 2012

The Greek word baptismo is one with an interesting history. It was already in use in another form by the Jews, but came to its Christian form with John the Baptist. He uniquely baptized even those born into Judaism for repentance and to identify them as believers in God who would act in accordance with their beliefs.

The word by its very definition implies immersion… not pouring or sprinkling. We also see that the symbolism of the act of baptism and its long standing meaning of identification and even of destruction. This meaning of destruction that comes from the root word gives the word a very close kinship to the English word to drown. Listen to these words in that context and it will give new depth of understanding.

Romans 6:4 (HCSB)
4 Therefore we were buried with Him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too may walk in a new way of life.

A desire from a time shortly after Augustine to see babies protected combined with the desire of the state to keep track of people helped to cost baptism some of its meaning. Most do not realize that for millennia the church kept records of infant baptism and that was how the state (which supported the church) tracked births. Since early Baptists in America fought against any state entanglements and asked for a separation between church and state, we do not naturally understand how politics could affect God’s church.

Yet we have come back to the way things were done in the early church and baptism of adults and the return of identification and the idea of the destruction of sin in our lives has returned to the meaning of baptism for those who truly desire to walk with Christ.

Recognizing Unity

Being baptized identifies you as a follower of Christ. This is why it is only practiced in the context of the church.

1 Corinthians 12:13 (HCSB)
13 For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.

Baptism makes us all equal. We are destroyed and the labels we placed upon ourselves become irrelevant in the context of the church.

Ephesians 4:4-6 (HCSB)
4 There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope at your calling—
5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism,
6 one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.

We are one with those around us in this Body. Think about that the next time you begin to feel smug or self righteous. When we start looking down on the behavior of others we see an immediate problem in the church today. It is one of the great problems that I see in our own church and it is the fact that we do not even try to disciple new believers. I am talking about one-on-one TIME spent sharing the way we live and the truths of the faith.

Living According to Our Baptism

1. The Spirit of God has made us ONE.

The whole idea of identification is incredibly deep. We do not identify ourselves by petty things like a sexual deviancy or some bizarre behavior. We do not even identify ourselves by race primarily, though the historical reasons for doing so are anything but petty as they were for the Jews of Jesus’ time and today. No, the identification is clear;

1 Corinthians 12:13 (HCSB)
13 For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.

2. The Spirit of God has Made Us Dead to Sin

We are to die to self and so, to sin. Paul asks how we can live this way any longer? Should we not grow weary of identifying our entire worldview through lenses of triviality?
Romans 6:3-6 (HCSB)
3 Or are you unaware that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we were buried with Him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too may walk in a new way of life. 5 For if we have been joined with Him in the likeness of His death, we will certainly also be in the likeness of His resurrection. 6 For we know that our old self was crucified with Him in order that sin’s dominion over the body may be abolished, so that we may no longer be enslaved to sin,

Becoming the Church

To be the Church of Jesus Christ means that we are living in God's power, not ours. It means that all differences between us as people become pale compared to the cross of Jesus Christ and the fact of our being buried with Him in His death. We are a different and powerful people and we will be known by the love that defines us and by the example of Jesus that definned that love for all time and proved its worth through His resurrection.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Ordering Principle

The deepest and most interesting passage in all of the New Testament may be the opening verses of first chapter of the gospel of John. It conveys both the individuality and unity of God the Father and the Divinity, Unity and individuality of Jesus Christ, God the Son. It also uses a unique word often found in Greek philosophy to describe Jesus. That word, Logos, means the both word (as it is translated in English) and the ordering principle of the Universe. When translated "word" it implies a message rather than a single word, though the message may be contained in a single word. It is a word rich in meaning that is frequently used to convey the Word of God, both spoken and written in the Old Testament LXX.

In John, Jesus is portrayed as the meaning, as a living embodiment of all that it and as the Creator of all that is. The Logos in all that the word implies. "What does all of this have to do with me?" You may well ask. It has a great deal to do with all of us. If, as evidence suggests, Jesus is alive, the Way that He asks us to live life becomes the ordering principle of our Universe. This makes the words of Jesus below deeply profound:

John 14:6 (HCSB)
6 Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

What will we do with Jesus? The proofs of the resurrection make this question acute. The fact that He rose in part to prove His other words true make it critical. The fact that He claimed that He will return make it an essential question for your life.