Sunday, April 27, 2008

I've Been Infiltrated!

Actual Surveillance Screenshot
I don't know how it happened or why, but Prodigal Jon over at Stuff Christians Like must have gotten a copy of my preaching calendar. Granted, the preaching calendar isn't under lock and key, but I have to wonder, "Why me?"

The evidence first presented itself upon arriving from church today. I sat down to read my fun blogs (my ministry blogs can wait until Monday), and what did I see? Prodigal Jon flaunting his recently-discovered knowledge of my preaching plan.

The evidence:
Yesterday Prodigal Jon posted this
#181 Preaching 87 Week Long Sermon Series on a Single Book of the Bible
Prodigal Jon clearly knows that today I preached sermon #50 from the book of Mark. Seriously. I started preaching from Mark on May 20, 2007. Today's sermon was from chapter 11 verse 12-26. Just wait, it gets better.

Mark 11:12-26 deals with one of the more famous events in the life of Jesus Christ. And what do you suppose Prodigal Jon's other post from yesterday was? You have to see it to believe it.
#179 Referring to that Jesus Clears the Temple Verse When You Get Angry

I just have one thing to say.

I'm onto you, Prodigal Jon!

Seriously though, all of you need to go over and subscribe to his blog, "Stuff Christians Like." It's a fun blog to read and really makes us laugh at ourselves.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

My Apologies

Sorry I've been out of pocket for the last few days. I'll get back into the swing of things shortly. I'm turning in my final paper tomorrow (Friday)!

I've been in school full time for the last 23 years! What is life like on the other side of school?

Sunday, April 20, 2008

A Fun Sunday

I had the opportunity to visit Northwest Bible Church in Dallas. We had a great time with the Grace Sunday School group. The people were very friendly and the teaching was excellent!

The 11:15 service was excellent too. The music was fun to sing and the congregation really seemed to be into worship. I was especially impressed with the response time at the end of the service. This was not your typical "altar call" type thing. They asked people to come a light a little votive candle at the front and pray about their response to the sermon. Some may have come to express their desire to trust Christ. I think many came as a commitment to follow the teaching of the passage more closely.

Although it was very different than the typical service at my church, Ennis Bible Church, I have to say it was an enjoyable experience.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

A Busy Couple of Weeks

As many of you know, I am graduating from Dallas Theological Seminary, God willing, on May 10. That means that everything is due by April 28. (Yikes!)

I'm planning a new series, but I haven't quite worked it out yet, and I'm not sure when it's going to happen.

Keep checking back as I'll keep you updated on how things are going.

Also: I'm preaching on Evangelistic Outreach and Biblical Teaching as two of our core values at Ennis Bible Church. I appreciate your prayers.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Fundamental Functions of the Online Church (Part 6 of 6)

We've been discussing the Fundamental Functions of the Church. So far we have seen four functions and today we will discuss the final function: Evangelism

The online church must perform evangelism in some way and I believe this is one of the functions that is the easiest to perform in an online environment. While some people may take on a different persona in online environments, many people are actually more open to discussing spiritual matters an online context.

The Great Commission compels us to go into all the world and share the gospel of Jesus Christ. Nowadays the world is actually at our desktop. We must share the message of Jesus Christ in the online worlds as well.

How does your church do evangelism? How can you share the gospel of Jesus Christ through the use of online environments?

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Fundamental Functions of the Online Church (Part 5 of 6)

As we continue in our discussion of the Fundamental Functions, we look at the cross-over function of Service.

It's a cross-over because the New Testament community took care of those within the fellowship (see Acts 2:45), as well as those who were outside of the community (see James 1:27).

So can the online church participate in the fuction of service? If finances can be considered part of service, this poses no problem whatsoever. For example, after the 2005 Sumatra Tsunami the website, raised $445,000 in the first five days. While this may not be a satisfactory form of service to many, it does help achieve the goal.

The phenomenon of the the "flash mob" shows that the internet has the power to motivate people to action, even for seemingly meaningless activities. Perhaps the online church could utilize this type of mobilization share the love and compassion characteristic of a thriving Christian community.

What do you think? What are some ways the online church could perform the fundamental function of service?

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Do You Somnambulate?

Not sure if you do or not? Then allow me to clarify.

Somnabulist - n. someone who walks about in their sleep

My sister-in-law and fellow blogger, Sarah Ackerley (blog), just announced the release of her first children's book, Patrick, The Somnambulist. Sarah is the author and illustrator of this charming book. It follows the story of Patrick, the somnabulating penguin, and his exciting escapades. I encourage you all to pick up a copy. You can do so by clicking Patrick.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

View Videos of the 2008 TEDPrize Winners

I have blogged quite a bit about the annual TED Conference, so forgive me for doing so again.

The 2008 TEDPrize Winners' videos are now available online. They are facinating to watch. It is especially interesting to see how all three of them recognize the broken nature of this fallen world in which we find ourselves, and their response is to do something to make it better.

There is much we in the church can learn from watching compassionate, and in many cases, secular, people, respond to the needs of the sin-stained creation.

Sadly, they often put us to shame. How can the church be a more powerful force for the restoration of creation? Could it be that creativity can help move creation toward restoration?

Watch the videos by following these links:

Neil Turok - 2008 TED Prize wish: An African Einstein
Be sure to pay attention to this. Neil Turok is responsible for a new theory of the beginning of the universe.
Niel Turok at

Karen Armstrong - 2008 TED Prize wish: Charter for Compassion
A very interesting talk from an ex-nun advocate for an eccumenical call for compassion.
Karen Armstrong at

Dave Eggers - 2008 TED Prize wish: Once Upon a School
Started a Pirate Supply Shop that turned into an educational phenomenon. Does that sound crazy? Watch the video and embrace the creativity.
Dave Eggers at

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Fundamental Functions of the Online Church (Part 4 of 6)

Continuing in our discussion of the Fundamental Functions of the online church, we now turn to InReach. Although we already discussed InReach a little bit, since .5 of it reaches into worship in the area of discipleship. I see discipleship as an overlapping function that unites UpReach and InReach.

InReach - Fellowship

The Fundamental Function that rests securly in InReach, however, is Fellowship. Fellowship appears to be primarily focused on encouraging other believers, caring for them, and building them up. While it may have a secondary role of pushing someone toward UpReach, the primary task in InReach.

The online church may not be able to have your traditional potluck dinners or your weekly gatherings around a cup of joe, but I do believe that real fellowship can happen through digital media. I believe that as technology improves this idea will become more and more a reality in many people's lives. Of course mobile devices and text messaging are already very popular and easy ways to stay in touch with friends and family constantly.

A few popular web services that already help people stay connected are:
Skype - offering computer to computer voice and video communication in real time
AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) - a standard in text-based instant messenging
Yahoo Messenger and MSN Messnger- like AIM, but with the added bonus of voice communication
Twitter - quick updates from your friends either from computer or via txt message on a mobile device
TeamSpeak or Ventrilo - voice communication popular with gamers. Provides different rooms for large groups to be broken into smaller groups for better organization/communication.

What are some ways you keep in touch with people in real time? How could you use this technology to facilitate fellowship within your church?
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