Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Is God Schizophrenic?

Is God schizophrenic? I believe a lot of the debate about whether science conflicts with Scripture can be boiled down, from a Christian perspective, to this question.

Both nature, which is the scientists realm of exploration, and the Bible are God's speech, God's word. One is more general and the other more specific (special), but both nature and Scripture are God's speech.

Scientists make reasonable guesses as to what the laws of nature are, try to determine the orderliness of the world around us. This is a very good endeavor, and only possible because there is order to be discovered and laws to be ascertained. But, as Vern Poythress reminds us, "The real laws, according to the Bible, are God's speech" (Inerrancy and Worldview, pg. 190).

Consider Psalm 33:6, "By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and the breath of his mouth all their hosts." Think also of Genesis 1 where God speaks, sends forth his word, and all that is comes into being. Or Hebrews 1:3, "He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power." Or John 1:1-3, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made."

So the wonderful work of science is the investigation of God's word which lies behind all order in the universe.

So, can science conflict with the Bible? Is God's word that upholds the universe a different, conflicting word than what he spoke through the prophets and apostles?

The same questions could be posed to the historian. Who guides history to its proper telos? Is there any stream of history that is outside the purview of God's sovereign control?

It's beyond the scope of this post to give a detailed account of all the aspects of history that God explicitly says he controls, but they include the casting of lots, the decisions of kings, the locations of all the peoples on the earth, the rising and falling of kingdoms, etc. In essence, the study of history is the study of God doing all he pleases - it reveals his wise plan for the cosmos. Consider Psalm 135:5-6:

For I know that the LORD is great,
      and that our Lord is above all gods.
Whatever the LORD pleases, he does,
      in heaven and on earth,
      in the seas and all deeps.

(The immediate context of this psalm goes on to speak of God's sovereign control over nature in things like the sending of snow and ice AND his sovereign control over nations, delivering Israel from Egypt and bringing down many nations that surrounded Israel.)

So history is God's self revelation (of his purposes and his will), and the Bible is God's self revelation. Would God's self revelation conflict with itself?

Without a doubt, this still leaves open the questions concerning how we understand what science is saying or what history is telling us, or what the Bible is communicating. Maybe history has misread the data and come to erroneous conclusions. Maybe science's guesses regarding the laws of the universe and attempts at discerning order have been misguided. Maybe my understanding of Scripture is flawed. All could be true, but in the end, there can be no conflict between history or science properly understood and the Bible properly understood. After all, God is not schizophrenic.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Piper's Wrong

Earlier today (11/17/12) John Piper, a theologian/pastor I respect immensely, tweeted: "If you're not living by the joy of the Holy Spirit the only category you have for spiritual disciplines is legalism." I think Piper is wrong on this.

I don't make a habit of calling out pastor's/theologians when I disagree with them. And let me say again, John Piper is someone I have tremendous admiration for. He, maybe more than any other contemporary writer, has shaped my theology and understanding of the Christian life. I read Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist right out of seminary. I've never been the same since. I know I've drifted away from his influence some over the years as I've read more confessional writers, and this may or may not be good.

So, I'm calling out a man I respect greatly, and I don't do it lightly.


Because I think his tweet is highly discouraging for many believers who aren't being legalistic in their use of the disciplines but don't experience they joy they long for. I'm positive that's not what Piper is aiming to do, and certainly a tweet isn't a good tool for offering subtlety or nuance. But, I know I'm not alone in the fact that I often lack the joy that I desire - the joy I know is glorifying to God. Should I (or you, if you're in the same boat) stop singing songs of worship till we feel the joy? Should we stay off our knees till the joy of the Lord drives us to them? Should we cease reading the Bible out of fear that we're simply doing it out of a sense of obligation - that legalism is wrapping it's tentacles around our heart and squeezing the life and joy out of it?


I remember preaching a sermon on this topic several years ago when I was going through it. Ministry was discouraging. My joy was slipping away from me. My advice? In the desert 'Joyless', keep going back to the places you know you'll find the waters of joy. Spend even more time reading in faith trusting that the Bible opens up God's heart to you. God reveals himself in those pages. He is the source of joy. Read and get to know God better. Dig. Dig. And pray. Pray the Spirit will guide you to joy. Pray he'll open your eyes to what is right there before you! Meditate. Worship. Go to church, for in the presence of God's people, maybe God will remind you of your'e glorious destination and kindle the joy again (kinda like the psalmist in Psalm 73).

So brother Piper, I love you, but you're wrong. Please be more tender to us bruised reeds in the future.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

"Rowing," by Soundgarden

I don't dance, but I did when I heard Soundgarden would be releasing a new album with Chris Cornell back where he belongs. You can pick up King Animal for $3.99 this week at amazon. Do it!

The first song on the album, "Rowing," is one of my favorites on this new release. It's gotta a cool grove.

Rowing by Soundgarden on Grooveshark

The lyrics aren't complicated, but they are revealing.
Don't know where I'm going I just keep on rowing
I just keep on polling, gotta row
Don't know where I'm going I just keep on rowing
I just keep on polling, gotta row
Can't see the sky, nothing's on the horizon
Can't feel my hands and the water keeps risin'
Can't fall asleep 'cause I wake up dead
These lyrics are the antithesis of Socrates' famous quote, "The unexamined life is not worth living." In this song, there's no pondering or reflecting - just rowing. The verse says,
Moving is breathing and breathing is life
Stopping is dying
You'll be alright
Life is a hammer waiting to drop
Drifting the shallows and the rowing won't stop
Don't know where I'm going I just keep on rowing
This song reminds me of a quote that my dad had hanging on his office wall for years, "Beware the bareness of a busy life." I gotta admit, if I'm not real careful, life and even my ministry can be like this. Just keep doing. Don't stop doing. Why are we doing? Don't know, but don't stop. This kind of thinking can creep into our spiritual lives too. Read, Pray, Bible Study, Row, Church, Volunteering, Read, Pray, Row.

Pick your eyes up and look to the horizon. Where are you rowing? What's the goal - the destination?

The goal is glorious - it's deep union with God through Christ and his Spirit. We're moving in that direction, being propelled, not by our effort but by the currents of the Spirit. Rowing to row, rowing without a destination has to be discouraging. Rowing to get somewhere is invigorating, even if the water gets rough the pulling hard.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Jonah Study #2: A Revealing Roll of the Die

In the first study of Jonah we were introduced to a prophet who was willing to proclaim God's blessings on Israel but not on the pagan Nineveh. Having received his call to go east to the capital of the Assyrian empire, Jonah runs west instead.

This second study looks at Jonah 1:4-17. These verses record God's pursuit of Jonah, the sailors response to the storm, the questioning of Jonah, Jonah's answer, the sailor's reluctance to jettison Jonah, and Jonah's experience as flotsam in the sea.

I think the best place to start is by focusing on what we see of God's character revealed in these verses. First, you see God's omnipotence/sovereignty. You see his is sovereign over nature: he sends a storm to do his bidding and then calms it again, he beckons a great fish and the fish obeys. Moreover, he's omnipotent over the casting of the lot - it falls to Jonah, not by chance but because God wanted Jonah found out. Second, you see something of God's persistence. He is the Hound of Heaven  - Jonah can't escape his call (notice how closely the captains words resemble God's!). Third, you also see that God is not a petty local deity. He is, as Jonah declares ,"the God of heaven, who made sea and dry land."  Moreover, he's not an ethnocentric God. While Israel is God's chosen people, they are chosen for the purpose of blessing all the nations of the earth. Here we see that this will happen whether Israel, as represented by Jonah, is a willing participant or not. Already we've seen God's concern for the people of Nineveh. Here we see that Jonah unwittingly testifies to God and turn pagan sailors into YHWH worshipers! God's grace to these sailors comes from a rebellious prophet. Gotta chuckle at that. Lastly, you see God's grace. Rebellious Jonah isn't left to drown. God rescues him with a big fish.

It's interesting to compare all the characters in these verses. If you do, you see everyone gets it except Jonah. The wind hears and obeys. So does the fish. Even the boat realized the danger - the language is literally 'the boat thought is was going to break up'. The pagan sailors hear of God and respond with fear and worship. But Jonah, Jonah shows no signs of repentance. No real fear of the Lord. He doesn't get it, he persists in his disobedience.

Jonah's  persistent rebellion is stunning, especially in light of his declaration that God is the one who created the sea. The sailors had to be thinking, "And you thought you could run away from this God. What kind of idiot are you?"  But, then again, I'm that kind of idiot a lot. I say one thing, think I really believe it, but betray my lack of belief with actions that don't line up. There a little does of Jonah in all of us.

I may be reading a little bit too much into the story, but I really don't like Jonah. He knows he's the problem, the one who's put the ship and all the sailors in danger. Have you ever wondered why he said the sailors needed to throw him overboard? Why didn't he just jump? I think the sailors were a little suspicious. Is God going to hold us accountable for killing one of his prophets? Why don't you just jump? Are you trying to take us down with you? That's why they pray, 'don't let his blood be on our hands God'. I believe Jonah's intentions were far less than noble.

I think we need to remember that this story was written either in the years preceding Israel's subjugation by Assyria or during the period of their exile. What was God trying to communicate to his people living either in fear of Assyria or in exile in Assyria? How were they to respond to this?

I think in part, this was meant to serve as a partial explanation for their exile. They had been called, as God's people, to participate in God's mission - a redemptive mission that was cosmic in scope, not limited to the people living within the borders of Israel. They were to be a light to the nations. They failed at this. They hadn't kept themselves pure and they had begun to look like every other nation around them. This is God's way of reminding them of his mission and their failure to line up with it. It was a failure God was punishing and using the Assyrians as his instrument.

What about for us living on this side of the cross? Well, Israel's failure helps us understand we needed a better Israel - the true Israel who would keep covenant and be entirely on board with God's redemptive mission. Jesus is that - he is the True Israel. And, all who are 'in Christ' are a part of this True Israel. Like the Israel of the Old Testament, we have a role to play in God's mission. Jonah is a reminder to take that calling seriously and not to begrudge God's grace given to the outsider. It's a reminder that God is still sovereign and when he says 'Go!', we ought to be willing servants - anitJonah's.

Next study...Jonah in the fish. Gross. 

Quick Review: Church Marketing 101

I finished up Church Marketing 101: Preparing Your Church for Greater Growth last week. I don't want to write a full review of it, and you probably don't want to read a long review of it either. But maybe a few quick thoughts.

Let's start with the good.

Ok, now onto the bad. Why, why do Christians need to 'baptize' everything with a Bible verse or story. This book was one of the worst offenders I've seen in a while. The first chapter includes a section labeled "The Biblical Foundation of Marketing" in which the author outlines Jesus' marketing strategy. When discussing the importance of building upkeep and astetics the author uses Solomon and the impression he left on the Queen of Sheba as his case study. Reflecting on 1 Kings 10 he writes, "Wow! So how Solomon's ushers dressed mattered? How the building was built mattered? How the greeters greeted mattered? You better believe it! To the queen, they were all evidence that validated the reality of God at work in Solomon's temple."

I wish authors of marketing, management, leadership, etc. books realized that this approach to Scripture doesn't make their books better, it makes them bad. I picked up the book because I know we as a church need to be more intentional about our marketing efforts. I didn't need to be convinced. In fact, his attempts to use the Bible to build a case made me question his credibility, not trust him more. The book would have been better had he, in a short paragraph, stated simply that marketing is one of the things we're called to do because we're Christ's ambassadors. Ambassadors try to represent their kings well. Or, that we're called to be crafty as serpents in our mission to reach the world. Or, that it simply flows from the great commission - we're attempting to use every means possible to spread the good news, and getting people into our churches is one good means.

Ok, back to the good, and there was more good in this book that I thought there would be. The most helpful idea was simple: people have perceptions of you already - you ought to be proactive in shaping that perception. People in Blooomington have a perception of our church that has been shaped by their ideas regarding church in general and about evangelical broadly (after all, it is in our name). Also, our church's particular history (gulp) and reputation in the community has shaped their perception. Those things, to some extent, are beyond our control. But, there's a lot we can and should do to undermine the incorrect perceptions people have of our church. We ought not just go down without a fight, but work hard to recast this perception. Everything we do matters in this regard - from keeping the grounds to developing a website, from greeters to signage in the church, from the sermons to the ease with which we enable people to connect to ministries.

Beyond that simple idea, this book was brimming with great checklists. It's easy as someone to who's been in church a long time to loose sight of the fact that there are people walking in the doors for the very first time. This book did a tremendous job of putting me in the visitors shoes - what do they experience? What fears to they have coming in? What are immediate turn-offs? Etc. These checklists made the book worth the price I paid for it and the time I invested in it.

Lastly, there was good reminders in this book that to communicate well an organization needs to over communicate. I know we all get tired of saying the same things over and over again, but if they define who we are, if they are essential to understanding how life in our church works, then they need to be repeated often. And un-apologetically! The book wasn't long and you can skip all the 'Biblical basis for' sections. If you're wondering what first time visitors or un-churched people see when they come into a church or how the church can shaped itself (without dumming itself down) to reach them, its a worthwhile read.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

"Strong Enough," by Apocalyptica

"Strong Enough", by Apocalyptica featuring Brent Smith on 7th Symphony

Not Strong Enough (feat. Brent Smith) by Apocalyptica on Grooveshark

Cellos and heavy metal? Yep, that's Apocalyptica . At first, many thought Apocalyptica was meant to be a parody of metal music. But, well, they rock - and they've got some great singers to sing with them, especially on the last album 7th Symphony. On this track, Brent Smith from Shinedown - another of my favorite hard rock groups, lends his vocals to the band.

There a lot to comment on regarding these song lyrics - several themes that strike me as very true.

First,  this song reminds me of the important admonition from Proverbs 4:23, "Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life" (ESV).  The word 'keep' here is much stronger than it sounds and has been translated in other versions 'guard' or 'protect'. It is counsel my dad offered nearly weekly, especially as I entered into the those teen years and began allowing my heart to be romantically involved with girls. Protect your heart. Don't let yourself get to the place where you sing, "There's nothing I can do, My heart is chained to you, And I can't get free, Look what this love's done to me." That doesn't mean we should protect our hearts from getting hurt, but protect our loves from getting improperly ordered - of allowing a human relationship to the thing that most enthralls us and captivates us.

Second, this relationship described in this song is a mixture "between pleasure and the pain" and leaves the singer with a choice - stay through the pain to find the pleasure, or leave the pain behind and forfeit the pleasure. I think that's true of ever relationship. The more intimate the relationship, the more pain will have to be endured. No one has hurt me more deeply than Lynn, and I know I've wounded her more deeply than any one else. We're not proud of that, and we've sought forgiveness from each other, but I doubt we're done hurting each other. We're still sinners who sin against the ones we love. At the same time, however, I've never had more joy and delight in a relationship. This isn't the way it was supposed to be, but is a testimony to the fall and how the curse effects everthing (see especially Gen 3:16).

Third, this song speaks of the dis-integrity of our beings in the fallen state. The word integrity comes from the same Latin root as integer and implies a wholeness of person. The main word used for integrity in the Hebrew Bible is tom. Interestingly, it can mean simplicity also. The ideas overlap significantly - a heart of integrity is one in where all the intentions of the heart are moving in the same direction. A man of integrity doesn't compartmentalize his private and public lives, his heart and his actions, etc. He is simple. His heart is simple as God is simple, meaning not divided, not double-minded (see James 1:7-8). This song shows a person deeply divided, a person who is not whole - "I know it's wrong and I know it's right. Even if I try to win the fight, my heart would overrule my mind."  We are all, this side of Christ's return, fractured in our loyalties, divided between serving God wholeheartedly (simply and with integrity) and serving self. The Spirit, as he does his sanctifying work restores the image of God in us, bringing us back to that place of wholeness and integrity. We've got a long way to go, but we can pray with the Psalmist, "Teach me your way, O LORD, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name" (Ps 86:11, ESV). Ultimately, this songs testimony to mans disintegration points us ahead to the eschaton when all things are made right the the fracturing effects of sin are undone.

Like so many songs, these lyrics give us great insight into the human heart apart from God - enslaved, fractured, hurting. Thank God that in Christ, "Everything sad is going to come untrue" (Sam Gamgee, Lord of the Rings, with some liberty).

Monday, November 05, 2012

Fantasy Kills Imagination (and Hurts the Church)

Last week I read a great post from Donald Miller, How Fantasy is Killing Your Imagination.  It was a convicting piece, forcing me to ponder what kinds of dreams I indulge.

Miller writes,
I’m capable of living almost exclusively in my mind. I can walk and daydream for hours. But some of these daydreams haven’t proved helpful. And the ones that aren’t helpful are daydreams about my own glory.
C.S. Lewis delineated between the two in his book “Surprised by Joy.” In the book, he talks about his early days imagining “Animal Land” which was a world he made up with his older brother. The time he spent imagining Animal Land, he noted, was great practice for becoming a writer. But fantasies about his own glory, he noted, (he would often spend time fantasizing about being a good dancer) was only practice for becoming a fool.
When it comes to the church, I have dreams. Some are great ones - dreams of the church changing the town  I live in through service, dreams of the college ministry making a significant impact on the darkness surrounding the campus, dreams of revival, of lives changed. I can sit in prayer over these dreams and be brought to tears. They are good dreams. But, they're not the only daydreams I have. Too often I catch myself practicing to be a fool - imagining its my sermon that sparks the revival and my name gets spoken generations from now in the same sentences as Edward or Whitfield. I dream that a book I want to write will become a classic (with dust-jacket blurbs written by the 'big guns' in the Reformed academic community).  These self-focused daydreams may get in the way of the bigger dreams, or at least render me unfit servant for their accomplishment.

I remember hearing years ago that as we mature, we move from focusing solely on what we do (behavior/goals) to how we do it (means) to why we do it (motives).  I'm praying that God will truly expose self-serving motives. I doubt I'll be able to set them aside entirely - not this side of Christ's return. I will pray, however, that God will use me despite my being a bag of mixed up motives and self-centered imaginings.

So, where does your mind run as you daydream?

Friday, November 02, 2012

Jonah Intro

Rebellion. Ethnocentrism. Anger. Bitterness. Hatred. Folly. Not exactly virtues that seem desirable. Not in anyone; certainly not in a prophet of God.  But, there's Jonah.

For the second half of the fall semester, the cgroups are studying the book of Jonah. It's a book I've loved since my seminary days where it was used to aid first year students in their study of Hebrew. Since I wrote the study guide, I thought I could use the blog to give the cgroup leaders some insight into the book and at the same time think through these chapters devotionally.

We actually began our study on Jonah by examining 2 Kings 14:23-29. Since the author of the book of Jonah, which probably wasn't Jonah himself, doesn't give us any background information, we turn to 2 Kings 14 where Jonah, the son of Amittai is also mentioned. Still, we don't have much, but this does put it in some historical context.

Jonah is ministering in the early part of the 8th century BC. Jonah is speaking God's word at a time when Assyria (Nineveh was the capital city) was building its empire, conquering nations neighboring Israel and threatening Israel's peace and security. Jonah is a prophet in the northern kingdom under the reign of Jereboam II, a king who, like so many, "did what was evil in the sight of the LORD."  What we read in 2 Kings 14 is that God, through Jereboam II, restored and extended Israel's border. This was, as we read in 2 Kings 14, "according the word of the LORD, the God of Israel, which he spoke by his servant Jonah."

When you first read it, this seems to be a non-sequitor. Jereboam is evil. God blesses Israel under and through him. What? The editor of 2 Kings explains, "the LORD saw that the affliction of Israel was very bitter...and there was none to help Israel. But the LORD had not said that he would blot out the name of Israel from under heaven, so he saved them by the hand of Jeroboam the son of Joash."  The editor of 2 Kings put these words there to highlight God's continued faithfulness despite Israel's unfaithfulness. Bad kings would lead Israel astray, but the True King would be merciful and save his undeserving servant anyway.

Interestingly, Jonah isn’t the only prophet speaking the word of the Lord in Israel at the time. Hosea is a contemporary, as is Amos. Hosea depicts Israel’s unfaithfulness with several enacted prophesies, including marrying a prostitute who leaves him and returns to her prostitution. While Hosea does speak words of restoration and reminds Israel of God’s relentless faithfulness, he also confronts Israel for her ‘whoredom’. Likewise, Amos speaks words of judgment against Israel’s enemies, but also shocked Israel by declaring God would come in judgment against his own people. God’s justice is universal and Israel would be held to the same, actually higher, standard as the surrounding nations.

It seems almost like Jonah is a "health-and-wealth-prosperity-preacher" for Israel. While faithful ministers are calling God's people to account for their infidelity, Jonah proclaims "God will prosper you and extend your borders."  It is the word of the Lord that Jonah proclaims, but one has to wonder, is it the whole word of God (a question that comes up again when Jonah proclaims God's message to Nineveh)?  Is he telling the whole truth and nothing but the truth to Jereboam II?

Turning to Jonah 1:1-3 we are immediately met with another set of dissonant assertions. The word of God comes to Jonah saying, "Arise, go to Nineveh", but we read "Jonah rose to flee to Tarshish". Jonah's plan, run to Joppa and get on a ship heading west - the opposite direction of Nineveh.  The prepositions in these verses are interesting (and intentional). God says that Nineveh's sin has "come up before me". But Jonah goes "down to Joppa" and after paying his fair to board the ship "went down into it". If you've read Jonah before you know his descent is just starting.

Jonah is more than an interesting story for Israelite parents to tell their children at bed time. I believe Israel was suppose to see themselves in the person of Jonah. Hence, the church as the New Testament continuation of Israel is supposed to see themselves in Jonah too.Why is Jonah not willing to go to Nineveh? Some have speculated that it was out of fear that he refused to go. What would the Ninevites do to him if he confronted their sin? That may be, but I don't think it fits the rest of the story well. Insight into Jonah's frame of mind will have to wait till later in the book. But even at the outset, if we lay Jonah 1:1-3 alongside 2 Kings 14, we see that Jonah is willing to preach grace to some, but not to others - grace and mercy to Israel, but not to pagan Assyria.

Would that Jonah's selectivity was a thing of the past, but it isn't. Shamefully, churches can still be found who won't welcome other races into their community, refusing to extend God's grace in all its multifaceted forms to those that are 'other'.  I doubt we'd have to think too long or too hard to come up with other ways God's people are shamefully selective with whom they will share grace.

From the get go, we should see that Jonah's plan is doomed to failure. After all, God has seen what's going on in Nineveh and is going to do something about it. Clearly Jonah can't flee God's jurisdiction - it's universal.

Futile though it is, Jonah attempts to resist the word of God. It does seem foolish when we see Jonah rebelling against God's will, doesn't it? But why then are we so blind to our own folly. I know I've been guilty of resisting God's will and disobeying his word just as blatantly as Jonah did. Why didn't I see the folly in it? It may be a great illustration that seeing the speck in another's eye is easier than acknowledging the plank in your own.

We may be quick to make excuses. "I wanted to do God's will, but didn't know." That may be true sometimes because aren't as wise as we ought to be (yes, ought - it's something we're commanded to be).  But, there are so many times when God's will is clearly taught in Scripture and, though it's clear and I know it, I rise up and run to Joppa/Tarshish.

Thank God for his never ending grace!

Before we leave these verses, I think it's appropriate to stop and think, "What does God show about himself in these verses?" and "How were God's people to respond to this self-revelation?"  You certainly see God's authority - he commands Jonah and expects to be obeyed.  We should respond in complete obedience. You see that God isn't a petty local deity, but is God of the Israelites and the Ninevites (though they do not acknowledge him as such).  We cannot allow ourselves to get sucked into the pluralistic notion that the LORD is the God for Christians, but not for those Muslims or Buddhists, etc. You see God is involved in his world - keeping an eye and ear on it. Evil doesn't go unnoticed. We ought to act as though all our actions are laid bare before the LORD. He sees what we do when no one else does. This ought to breed deep integrity in us. The LORD is also a God of surprising grace - extending too even the enemies of his people. Thank God, for we too were once his enemies!

Thursday, November 01, 2012

I'm Back

Well, after a three month break from blogging, I've decided to return from retirement. The break was good - it helped me, hopefully, be less obsessive about the blog. And, I was running out of things to say! My reading had been very technical (read 'boring') and wasn't sparking any good blog ideas.

I'm done with that reading now and am eager to dive into the books that have been piling up on my desk waiting for attention. Books you'll be hearing from soon include Poythress' Inerrancy and Worldview, Trueman's The Creedal ImperativeWalton's The Lost World of Genesis One, Calvin's Institutes of the Christian Religion, and maybe even some Church Marketing 101

I'm also planning on using the CGroup study on Jonah I wrote as a series of blog posts - hoping it will be a good resource for the cgroup leaders.

Lastly, you may notice a new button in the sidebar "Playlist Theology." I've always posted some of my favorite songs/songs-I'm-currently-listening-to. Now, inspired by my summer devotional with the boys (and Dr. Moore's 'The Cross and the Jukebox' podcast), I plan on posting reflections to go along with the songs on a weekly basis.