Friday, April 25, 2008

Just came back from National New Church Conference

Just came back from National New Church Conference. Aric (New City's intern pastor) and I spent three days in Orlando, Florida for the conference.

I had a great time. I met a lot of great people.

The highlight was the Stadia church planters' dinner. There were about 200 people there. A lot of energy. I received a lot of encouragement. I saw a lot of guys I met at the assessment in Tennessee and at the bootcamp in Seattle. A great group of people.

I also hooked up with MosaiX network, a network of pastors who are leading or planting multi-ethnic churches. It was awesome to meet and hookup with George Yancey who wrote Divided by Faith and Mark DeYmaz who wrote Building Healthy Multi-Ethnic Churches. Great guys!

George Yancy's session on the racially divided America was compelling. According to research, there is more racial division among people who go to church than people who do not go to church. Why is Christian America so divided?

Mark DeYmaz's session on the biblical basis for a multi-ethnic church was powerful. I just started to cry at the end of the session. I could not help it. He argued against the homogenous principle--that churches grow faster when like-kinds of people gather together. He argued that such approach is not supported by the Bible. We shouldn't just plant growing churches, we should plant biblical churches. He argued that biblical churches were multi-ethnic churches where Jews and Gentiles came together. Heaven is going to be multi-ethnic; so, we need to be multi-ethnic as well. There was a lot more insight--John 17, Antioch church in Acts, Ephesian exogesis. Great stuff. Read his book.

Andy Stanley was good. Pretty staight forward from his book: Visioneering. Nothing new. Just some stories.

Tim Keller was great on his exposition of the DNA of a revival. His discussion of the gospel was also refreshing. A guy who sat next to me said that the talk changed his paradigm of the gospel. Tim focused on the three aspects of the gospel: incarnation (Kingdom of God), subtitutionary atonement (the cross), and restoration(eternal life, second coming), and said that different parts of the Bible focus on different aspects of the gospel. We need to share all three. It was very well laid out. I also heard that there was a Q&A breakfast with him in the morning and I heard that that was very good. I am glad that the leadership of the conference brought Tim into the picture of church planters.

Rick Warren was staight forward and personal. He led the commitment time. It was a powerful time. I need to learn how to lead people into commitment. It was great!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

I'll be at National New Church Conference

Aric Allen, intern pastor at new city, and I will be at the National New Church Conference from April 21-24, 2008. Grace and I attended this conference last year and made several important connections which led us to a partnership with Stadia.

This year's is going to be a great conference. Where else can you see Tim Keller, Rick Warren, and Andy Stanley in one place?

God is doing something through church planting and you can feel it inside at this conference.

If you are going to be at the conference, let me know. Let's meet up!

A Creative New Way to Explain the Gospel

Check out this video of a great way to explain the gospel.

Click here for the video.

Here is an addendum to the video.

Here is a training manual for this approach as well as a companion book that will come out in April.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Logan, Sky Angel Cowboy

Here's a moving video of a radio conversation between a 13 year old kid and a broadcaster.

Friday, April 4, 2008

A thought on the "torture memo"

When I practiced law, I used to spend countless hours writing legal memoranda advising clients about questions of law. When writing a legal memorandum, we are supposed to be objective and tell what the law is, and not make a case for what it should be.

It's interesting that a legal memorandum written by a Deputy Assistant Attorney General John Yoo (I think he is now a law professor at Berkeley) recently surfaced which is being condemned and dubed "the torture memo." This 2003 memo essentially told U.S. Military that it could subject suspected terrorist to hard treatment as long as it didn't cause "death, organ failture or permant damage." It gave a legal opinion that torture is not illegal.

This is an interesting question for me as a former lawyer because it poses a question as to what a lawyer who is a follower of Jesus is supposed to do in cases like this (I don't know if John Yoo is a Christian or not). How do we apply our faith to our professon? Are we supposed to be objective and lay out the law even though the result is violently against biblical ethics? What would you do?

What is more amazing is that torture was sanctioned and used by the Bush administration and this memo was a key enabler to that policy. How would you like to be the guy who justified use of torture?

Fighting Disease in Africa

Here is something positive coming out of Washington. God calls us to reduce suffering in this world! All Christians should applaud this effort. Read this excerpt of an op-ed from LA Times:

A $50-billion bill to fight AIDS and other diseases in Africa and elsewhere gives us reason to cheer.

April 4, 2008

President Bush is going partway toward atoning for his sins in the Middle East by rebuilding Africa. His leadership in fighting disease and poverty on the continent culminated Wednesday with a breathtaking gesture from the House of Representatives, which took the president's generous proposal to spend $30 billion over five years fighting AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis around the world and upped it by $20 billion.

The $50-billion reauthorization for the president's anti-disease program, which is also expected to pass in the Senate, marks a dramatic shift in the United States' attitude toward foreign aid. This country has supported big international disease-eradication projects in the past, notably when it led a World Health Organization crusade against malaria in the late 1950s, but never with such an enormous financial commitment. We'd like to think this reflects a realization that saving lives and rebuilding economies destroyed by disease is a better way to enhance global security and stability than dropping bombs on people.

For the entire op-ed, click here.

Praying the Psalms

Here's a great article in LA Times by Connie Kang (the reporter who did the story on New City Church) about prayer which appeared last Saturday. A few months ago, I preached on this very idea in a sermon entitled: "Praying our tears."

Psalms offer source of inspiration for prayer

Worshipers turn to ancient Hebrew verses to discover a powerful tool for intimacy with God.

By K. Connie Kang, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

March 29, 2008

The Psalms, says theologian Eugene H. Peterson, are God's gift to those who want to learn how to pray."If we wish to develop our entire heart, mind, soul and strength, the Psalms are necessary," the author of the bestselling "Message Bible" writes in "Answering God: The Psalms as Tools for Prayer." "We cannot bypass the Psalms."

For the entire story, click here.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Pictures from New City Easter Service

Small group discussion

New City Worship thru a fish-eye

New City Worship Gathering

Kevin's Talk

Faces of New City

Making friends as we share brunch