Showing posts from July, 2010

Random memorable moments and blessings from the GCI conference in Orlando

This post was contributed by worship leader Mike Hale. Just returned from the Renewed In Christ GCI denominational conference in Orlando FL, where I was blessed to serve with the Higher Ground praise band in lifting prayers and songs of thanks, petition and praise with 1,100 worshipers. What a colorful kaleidoscope of humanity from around the globe – unique but unified persons sharing in Spirit with Jesus – our true Minister of the Sanctuary – in his ongoing worship of the Father. Following is my rando m list of memorable moments and blessings from the wonderful week. Your own comments and memorable moments are most welcome! • Memorable call to worship – tie between Because of Your Love by Paul Baloche, and “You Are Good” by Israel Houghton • Favorite traditional hymn – the Christie Nockels version of Praise to the Lord, the Almighty with the Hallelujah sections • Sermon by Dan Rogers • Being invited by Ross Jutsum to share a few words during his worship workshops to c

God, the Bible and The Shack

I'm at the GCI denominational conference in Orlando, FL with about 1,100 people. We've heard wonderful presentations concerning Trinitarian, incarnational theology from various theologians and teachers including Gary and Cathy Deddo. They mentioned a booklet they recently authored titled  God, the Bible and The Shack . The Shack is often criticized for its view of God, but those criticisms often misunderstand both the nature of the book and of the Trinitarian theology it expresses. Here's the publisher's description of the Deddos' booklet: "Millions of readers of William Paul Young's The Shack want to know, Is God really that good? Is this the same God we find in the Bible or not? Is the Trinity really like what we find in the novel? And what about evil in the world? How much does The Shack help us understand why it exists and how God deals with it? Here are clear, insightful responses to the questions so many people want answers to." Gary has also

Songs from the Shack

William P. Young's novel,  The Shack , is wonderfully expressive of Trinitarian, incarnational theology. If you like the book, you may enjoy the music of Dave Lingenfelter (pictured here). Inspired by The Shack, he recorded the song, Free to Be Me. To listen to a clip,  click here . Following are the lyrics, which express Dave's understanding of the unconditional love that the Father, Son and Spirit have for all humanity: I’ve walked down this road for so long Never questioning…always wondering Guess I took it for granted Everything pushing me…made me blind to see Truth…Love…Grace…and all that you are You love me how you made me and I’m made to be free If that’s the truth then all I have to do Is just live loved with you next to me and know that I am here to be me I spent most of my time making rules I couldn’t follow Always ending in shame Packing you up in a pill I couldn’t swallow Trying to bring you some kind of new fame It’s true…I tried so hard But the

Ministry in poetry -- Lazarus, freedom, and the Word we were created to hear and know

This post was contributed by worship leader Mike Hale. Below is one of my favorite poems by Dr. John McKenna and his wife Nancy. Students of theology are sometimes surprised to learn that in addition to being a theology professor at several schools and a doctrinal advisor to Grace Communion International, John is also a gifted poet. The Burning Green (1996, Wipf and Stock Publishers) is a collection of their poetry, and is available at . John and Nancy wrote in the book's Foreword in 1996, Throughout our more than twenty years of marriage [and now more than thirty] Nancy and I have struggled to give these poems a voice that might reflect the gift of God with us. We are of a time that is deeply wounded. Our language echos its rage and folly. We are thankful to be free from its destructive power. To this freedom we hope our poems will point their readers. The Bible verses [included alongside each poem] are meant to help us hear. Sometimes a certain type of poe

Stunning truth

Joseph Tkach provides in his  July 2010 letter  a clear and concise summary of the stunning truth of the gospel of God's grace in Jesus Christ. With his permission, I've reproduced below the main body of his letter, and added hyperlinks to the Scripture passages that he references. Enjoy! In the movie, “A Few Good Men,” Jack Nicholson plays the role of Colonel Nathan Jessup. Tom Cruise plays Lieutenant Lionel Kaffee, who intensely cross-examines the Colonel in a military trial. Exasperated, the Colonel finally shouts, “You want answers?” Kaffee rejoins, “I want the truth!” And the Colonel famously responds, “You can’t handle the truth!”  The phrase jars us even as it resonates with John’s Gospel where Jesus declared, “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” And that is precisely the challenge: Truth can set us free—but we can’t always handle the truth! The truth is that in Jesus Christ we are already forgiven, reconciled and beloved of God ( Colossians 1:20

Concerning the Judgment

How does trinitarian theology address the idea of the Judgment? How does it understand verses like Daniel 12:2, which says, "Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt."  If all, in Jesus, are included and forgiven, why this prophecy about some receiving "everlasting contempt"? And what about the similar statement in 2 Thessalonians 1:6-9: “God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power.” These and other passages of Scripture speak of the Judgment that occurs when Jesus is “revealed” (someti

The urgent second step: Rewriting our ‘roadmap’ to serving in the hope of the risen Lord

This post was contributed by worship leader Mike Hale. The things that a worship leader says and does are important. Why? Because in part, over months and years, it helps shape a congregation’s understanding of God, scripture, and the living relationship of Father, Son and Holy Spirit with all creation. Wow! That sounds daunting! So for help with this important task, we’ve been looking at what Andrew Purves has to say in The Resurrection of Ministry: serving in the hope of the risen Lord (IVP 2010). We saw that the crucial first step to ministering in the hope of the risen Lord is to focus on the person that is Jesus—not some general concept of God. Everything else follows as a result of this confession, and the truth it bears witness to. The urgent second step is a willingness to admit that some rewriting of our ‘roadmap’ to faith and ministry i s re quired. Purves says we must give additional thought to the central issues of Christia n fa ith and admit that we are sometimes u