Wednesday, November 28, 2007

New Picture...

I've replaced my picture on the blog with a new one that a photographer in our church has taken. Jerry Long has been working on an on-line directory for our church and has done a wonderful job in taking lots of pictures. Jerry does great work and I wanted to give him a little plug by encouraging you to go and take a look at his website You'll find an online store with some great prints including vintage photos of the Beatles that Jerry had the good fortune to take. There are also some beautiful wildlife shots. The picture above is the Samples family. Jerry is available to help your church with a directory if that is something that might be useful to you. He has done a wonderful job for us. You can see some other pictures of our staff at Cornerstone at our church website Just click on the staff link.

Monday, November 26, 2007

The Difference Between True Spirituality and Religion...

I shared a message last Sunday from Acts 4:1-12 comparing and contrasting established religion with the true spirituality of Peter and John. These two disciples of Christ came into conflict with the weight of organized religion in their day. Notice the differences and evaluate your own religious experiences in light of the text. I have concluded that my particular denomination--The Southern Baptist Convention--looks a lot more like the religious leaders than it does Peter and John. I would give my church a much better evaluation though there have been times that we have fallen into simply maintaining religion.

Five Marks of Established Religion:

  1. Reliance on Human Power (v1) - The religious leaders utilyzed a military guard with which to maintain their religious dominance. Dissent is easily suppressed when you have military might at your disposal.

  2. The Need to Control (v2) - The leaders were angry that Peter and John were teaching the people. They weren't authorized. They didn't have permission. They hadn't been to the right schools.

  3. Insistance on Doctrinal Compliance (v2) - Peter and John were proclaiming the resurrection of Jesus Christ which contradicted the dearly held view of the Sadducees that there was no resurrection of the dead for anybody--especially Jesus.

  4. Ineffective Opposition (v3-4) - Peter and John are jailed (and silenced). The result is that thousands who have already heard the message are converted.

  5. Positional Authority (v5-6) - A "who's who" of religious and political leaders are assembled to determine the fate of Peter and John. Those with the authority, of course, must be right (smell the sarcasm). Peter and John are outnumbered and outclassed in almost every way.

Five Marks of True Spirituality:

  1. Reliance on Holy Spirit Power (v7-8) - What does an uneducated fisherman have that can silence the powerful elites? The Holy Spirit is enough!

  2. Miraculous Life-change (v9) - It's hard to argue when the recently healed are standing nearby. Peter and John may not have been to the right schools--but they have a stronger argument--miracles!

  3. Resurrection Power (v10) - Doctrinal conformity leads to legalism and death. Jesus rose again--what else matters?

  4. Biblical Confirmation (v11) - God was revealing His plans daily to the disciples through the inspired Scriptures. Nothing gives you more confidence than to know that God is working through you.

  5. Kingdom Authority (v12) - Jesus saves--not Caiaphas, not Annas, not the priests, not Peter, not John, not the Baptists, etc.

I recommend "The Apocalypse Code"

I am teaching through the book of Revelation on Tuesday nights at our church. I am not a big prophecy buff and I am quite sceptical of the definitive systems that appear to explain everything. I have found Revelation to be a very practical symbolic book of encouragement to the persecuted church. I read Revelation like I would read any other book of the Bible--it's a book about God that reveals a great deal about Him and His unique ways. I was strolling through a Christian bookstore a few weeks ago when I came upon Hank Hanegraaff's book, The Apocalypse Code. I picked it up because I was interested in what "The Bible Answer Man" might have to say about the subject of biblical prophecy. What I found was a primer on properly interpreting Biblical prophecy in light of proper hermeneutical principles. Hanegraaff takes aim at Tim LaHaye's Left Behind series of books and lands a crippling blow.

Paul Maier of Western Michigan University writes in the front flap, "Hank Hanegraaff argues that the book of Revelation is obscure to us because 'we have not sufficiently learned to read the Bible for all it's worth. When our interpretations are tethered to the hottest sensation rather than to the Holy Scripture, we are apt to grab at anything--and usually miss.' The Apocalypse Code is a guide to holding on to what is true in the book of Revelation as in the rest of Scripture. Throughout the history of the church, wrongheaded teachings have appeared that temporarily attracted a large following, only to become fading fads once the light of proper biblical interpretation illuminated their error. A current example is dispensational pretribulational rapture theology promoted by such prophecy pundits as Hal Lindsey, Tim LaHaye, John Hagee and others. For years now, I've been wondering what might convince such prophecy specialists to recognize that the eschatology they are foisting on the world is simply embarrassing to the church, and so prompt them to back out of their dispensational cul-de-sac."

Check out Hank Hanegraaff's website at the Christian Research Institute here.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Jay Novacek

Taran posted a video tribute to the greatest tight-end ever to play the game of football. You can link to it here. His post was in response to a video clip that I had posted about the heroics of the current Dallas Cowboys Tight End. This is a picture of me and my autographed Jay Novacek card. The card is a 1993 "Action Packed 24 kt gold". Jay Novacek signed it personally for me in my presence in Granbury, Texas. Just thought you would like to see it . . .

Border Security? Two Words: Chuck Norris

Here is the first Mike Huckabee for President ad to be purchased in Iowa. A more serious issues-oriented ad is set to follow next week.

Monday, November 12, 2007

3 Former SBC Presidents Support Huckabee...

Baptist Press is reporting today that three former SBC presidents have announced their support for Governor Mike Huckabee for president. According to BP, "James (Jimmy) T. Draper Jr., Jack Graham and Jerry Vines all said they were supporting Huckabee, a fellow Southern Baptist and former president of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention." You can read the entire BP story here.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Most Influential Southern Baptists...

Baptist Press reports that The Daily Telegraph of London has published its annual list of the most influential liberals and conservatives in American. Southern Baptists have made both lists.

On the Conservative side...

#4--former House Speaker Newt Gingrich

#9--Sen. John McCain, R.-Arizona

#35--former GOP House Majority Leader Tom Delay

#43--Sen. Tom Coburn, R.-Oklahoma

#65--Richard Land, the head of the SBC's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission

#71--actor Chuck Norris

#81--Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council

On the Liberal side...

#1--former President Bill Clinton

#50--House majority leader Steny Hoyer, D.-Maryland

#72--former President Jimmy Carter

You can read the Baptist Press article here.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

CBN Responds to My Question...

The following is the email response that I received from the Christian Broadcasting Network in reply to my email questioning Pat Robertson's endorsement of Rudy Guiliani:

We appreciate this opportunity to respond to you on behalf of Pat Robertson. Because of the large amount of mail received daily at CBN, Pat is not able to reply to you personally. Pat Robertson as a private citizen has recently endorsed a candidate for political office. As a private citizen he has the right to participate in the political process, and is entitled to express his personal views. CBN, as a public charity, does not support or oppose any candidate for public office, and as a result cannot address or comment further on this matter. If we can serve you in any other way, please do not hesitate to let us know. Thank you and God bless you.

The Christian Broadcasting Network
Website - <> The 700 Club Prayer Counseling Center - 1-800-759-0700

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Robertson is Wrong...

The Washington Post is reporting this morning that Pat Robertson intends to endorse Rudy Giuliani for president. According to the Post, "Robertson's support was coveted by several of the leading Republican candidates and provides Giuliani with a major boost as the former New York City mayor seeks to convince social conservatives that, despite his positions on abortion and gay rights, he is an acceptable choice as the GOP nominee." You can read the story here. I can only speak for myself. This "social conservative" will not support or vote for any candidate who supports the status quo when it comes to abortion rights. Life is sacred and the most defenseless humans among us, the pre-born, must be protected.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Seeing Christianity for the First Time...

I want to encourage each of you to take a look at Rick Thompson's post The Road We Travel: seeing christianity for the first time. Rick has recently returned from a mission trip to India and confesses that perhaps he has seen Christianity for the first time. Rick has a entire series of posts from his trip to India that contain some gripping stories of how very different Christianity is in India. Those who are connected with my church understand that in these days we are being confronted with a deeper form of faith than what we have grown up with. We are studying the Acts church and have seen examples of deeper faith through the India Children's Choir and other living examples that have been placed before us. You can visit Rick Thompson's blogsite and read his entire series here.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Higher Grounds in Pagosa Springs...

After an article on "REST" it sees appropriate to take a little bit of rest. My family and I are in Pagosa Springs, Colorado for the next few days using a timeshare that my father has graciously provided. We are doing some family things but mainly just resting. I have big intentions to get in quite a bit of study and to get caught up on my reading. I am posting this morning from the Higher Grounds Coffee Shop in Pagosa. Check them out online here. I came in early and picked a table near a wall outlet and began my blog reading routine with a great cup of ALLEGRO coffee. Unknowingly, I chose the table normally belonging to "Rick" who came in and sat at a table normally belonging to "Caleb" who is sitting in the middle of the room occassionallly giving me "concerned" looks. I'll know better where to sit tomorrow morning. The picture is of downtown Pagosa Springs and was found here.