Thirteen on Thursday

I dunno, I thought it would be fun to put up 13 things worth looking into on this cold and rainy Thursday in Chicagoland.  This is going to be pretty random, but I expect most of you will find a gem in there somewhere.  In no particular order but numbered for your counting pleasure...

1. Dwight Schrute Video (via Marko): "selling paper, fighting evil."  A hilarious, Schrutastic 2 minutes of pure Office-alicious enjoyment.  Please use this opportunity to stay in touch with your inner Schrute, who "has the strength of a grown man AND a little baby."

2. Tim Keller Quotes: thanks to Charlie.  Here's one...

If you speak and discourse as if your whole neighborhood is present eventually more and more of your neighborhood will find their way in or be invited. Why? Most Christians, even when they are very edified in church, know intuitively that their non-Christian friends would not appreciate the service. What you want is for a Christian to come to your church and say, "Oh! I wish my non-Christian friend could see (or hear) this!" If this is forgotten, soon even a growing church will be filled with Christians who commute in from various towns and communities far and wide rather than filling up with Christians and seekers from your church's immediate neighborhood.

3. Gary Rohrmayer says to look for a "Man of Peace."

Here are a few things to look for: 1)  They are not just open to the gospel but they receive the gospel freely.  2) They are in a position of great influence over their family, friends and within the community.  3) They have the ability to introduce church planters into their sphere of influence effectively.  4) They are also great "bringers and includers" of others into the life of the church.

4. Dictionary Tooltip for Firefox.  Love this extension.

5. Joe Thorn shamed me to switch my feed reading to Google Reader.  Great recommendation.  I've added a daily updated list on my left sidebar that shows what I liked from my feeds.

6. Convert your docs to PDF documents.  "Very nice!  How much?"  Free.

7. After hearing Shane Claiborne on the Catalyst podcast, I was intrigued.  Get it.  Check out The Simple Way.

8. Ed Stetzer has some stats on the survivability of church plants.

9. Check out John Piper's Don't Waste Your Life video podcast.  (via KC)

10. Have you seen the new Challies-ified Monergism site?  Looks great, and of course it contains great content.

11. You may want to check out the Internet Monk's conversations with another blogger about Southern Baptist identity (you will need to scroll to find all of them).  Some helpful stuff by iMonk.  The other guy?  Not so much.

12. We are just starting to use Fighter Verses for family Scripture memorization.  You can subscribe to the podcast which also contains audio of the verses. 

13. Saving the best for last, this is without question the greatest photo in Joe Thorn's portfolio...


Pray for Alistair Begg

Please pray for Alistair Begg, one of my favorite preachers, who has prostate cancer.

During the week of January 22, after a series of tests and finally abiopsy, I was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Although this is not what I had hoped for, my doctors seem confident that this is very curable. We are presently discussing different treatment options.

Interestingly, we have just begun a new series of studies in James at Parkside Church. Immediately I have been entrusted with the privilege of not simply teaching, but in a particular way, living verses 2-4 of chapter one.

(HT: David Price)

Church Leader Roundup

Here are a few things I've read recently that you might want to check out.

Kent Shaffer: 5 Ways Your Church Can Build Trust In Your Community
Mark Driscoll: Twenty Leadership Questions for Building a City Within the City (including Driscollian chest fur)
Tony Morgan: 10 Signs You're Not Ready for Change
Drew Goodmanson: The Future of Spirituality and What Is After Postmodernism
Steven Furtick: Irreplaceable
Mark Dever: Baptists and Elders (best for Baptists who don't have elders)
Joshua Sowin: A Guide to Writing Well
Acts29: An Expanded List of Books for Missional Church Planters
ESV Daily Readings (I'm doing this one)


Both Stephen Shields and Scot McKnight tagged me, so I'm to release 5 newly declassified items about me you don't already know.  Because of the nature of blogging it's hard to tell what has and hasn't been shared before.  So here's my best shot...

1. In High School my brother and I traveled around central IL in the summers to lip-sync contests and scored tons of small town bling.  The name of our lip-sync team?  The Star Search Rejects.  Our niche?  Lip syncing to Weird Al polka medleys.  We were big time, baby. 

2. I currently have a poster of Jack Bauer on the wall of my office.  Yes, he is holding a firearm.

3. When I as a little kid (maybe 3 or 4?) I got up in the middle of the night, raided the medicine cabinet and downed several birth control pills.  My parents woke up and found me still eating and called my uncle, a doctor.  He said to make me drink soapy water so I would vomit.  I chugged it.  Then Mom stuck her finger down my throat.  I think that worked.  But to this day I have yet to get pregnant.  Coincidence?

4. One summer in the early 90's I listened a dozen times or more to a Rush Limbaugh audio book.  Now he drives me nuts.

5. While at Southern Seminary I emailed a key seminary leader about something a professor told me in a conversation.  It was an email questioning whether the different SBTS schools were heading in different directions.  Within a week I found myself in a meeting with three professors including a dean of one of the schools.  I thought I must have said something wrong and was in trouble, but they simply wanted some info from me and to convey the unity of the schools at SBTS.  None of it ended up being a big deal, but it freaked me out a bit.  Now the prof in question is a friend and it all was nothing to really sweat over.  Go figure.

Dr. Mohler's Health

I mentioned before that Dr. Al Mohler needed prayer during surgery.  He was recovering but is experiencing problems.  Please pray...

Dr. Mohler's health has sustained a setback. Over the past 36 hours Dr. Mohler has suffered from unrelenting pain. This unusual degree of pain signaled concern for the attending physicians and prompted additional tests this afternoon. In the past hour these tests have revealed that Dr. Mohler is suffering from pulmonary emboli in both lungs. His condition is quite serious and he has been moved to the intensive care unit of Baptist East Hospital in Louisville, KY for immediate treatment. Please make this a matter of urgent prayer. Thank you once again for your concern and support during these days.


Reformissionary Roundup

Time for a roundup of random stuff.

1. I've started a Bible study series at our church based on Kris Lundgaard's book, The Enemy Within (@ Monergism).  Lundgaard's book is based on two of John Owen's works on sin.  I read it a few years ago and rereading it for this series.  Very helpful book.  Justin Taylor points to some of Lundgaard's audio messages on The Enemy Within.

2. Watched the movie Click with my wife yesterday.  It was moderately funny.  Best part of the movie is what Adam Sandler does to David Hasselhoff (there's a bad word here, so don't watch if you can't handle it).

3. Speaking of video, the Smiling Addiction video is great.  It's an original piece (including original music) by Crossroads Community Church in GA.  I think Joe Thorn first pointed me to this.

4. It looks like Paradox, a music venue at Mars Hill Seattle but not run by Mars Hill, is no more.  This article doesn't really give Mars Hill's perspective in a good light, but the news was worth mentioning.

5. Have you taken a trip on Line Rider yet?  Throw on a scarf and go!

6. Alan Hirsch is blogging.

7. Tim Keller wants to help you know how to "Work."  Great sermon.  Keller provides Dorothy Sayers' definition of the biblical doctrine of work: "Work is the gracious expression of creative energy in the service of others."  Other TK Resources.

ReThinking the Blog

Img_0583With the timely death of my other blog (Missional Baptist Blog), I have been rethinking how to use Reformissionary.  I have some new ideas and I'm excited about the road forward from here.  You may not notice much change, but my planning and posting here will be more strategic and intentional (even if I'm the only one who notices). 

Maybe this is a good time to thank all the readers of Reformissionary.  The first few years have been a ton of fun, and I've probably learned more than any of my readers.  But I still think the best is to come.  Stick around.

Jon the Baptist

Jonthebaptist_cropA couple of weeks ago I was able to meet Jon, the Baptist.  Jon (Whitehead) and his wife Aryn (sorry it's a camera phone image) were planning to come to Chicagoland for his sister's graduation from Wheaton College, so he sent me an email hoping we might be able to meet up.  We knew it would be tight since we were leaving for Seattle that day, but it was well worth the time to grab a Caribou Coffee meeting on the way out.

Jon and Aryn are from Texas Kansas City, where Jon is a lawyer.  He had some good thoughts on the future of the SBC (let's just say that he recommends a lot of Ex-lax and throne time, the porcelain one...okay, not really...but that would have been wise...and funny).  And like me, Jon married way above his head. 

Head over to Jon's blog and check out his thoughts.  Good guy.

Seattle: Monday

Space Needle in the Clouds

We ate breakfast this morning at Cafe Minnie's.  Omelets the size of your head.  Sheesh.  Then we took a trip to the top of the Space Needle.  Beautiful day, beautiful view.   To See, Look Away

Click on the pictures for a larger version, and take a peek at my other Seattle pics.

Reform & Resurge begins in the morning.  Hopefully we can meet up with a few of you tonight.  We are in the Holiday Inn, Room 204.  Give our room a call, or email me.

Seattle: Sunday

We left Bloomington, IL this morning at 7:06am, flew to Chicago O'Hare.  Then took off at 8:35am for Seattle and arrived at about 11am.  A couple from our church, Mike and Gail, were already here and picked us up.  We went directly to Pike Place Market and watched them toss some fish around.  What a cool place, tons of fruit and vegetables for sale, a bunch of cafes and restaurants.  We ate at the place where Tom Hanks ate in Sleepless in Seattle.  I had shrimp cakes.  Yeah buddy.  Good stuff.

Then we checked in at the Holiday Inn and took a short break.  Refreshed, we went to Sonic Boom music store (through the recommendation of some of my blog readers).  What a great store.  Found a couple of CD's I've been looking for and couldn't find in my neighborhood.  Then we went to the 5pm service at Mars Hill Church.  It was great.  Maybe more on that another time.  Dinner at P.F. Changs, which rocked as usual.  I also got a few pics along the way.  I'll try to get a few of those up tomorrow.

It's been a very, very long day and I'm exhausted.  Nighty nite.

The Mother Ship


Here I am with my mocha (and my wife's drink) in front of the original Starbucks in Seattle.  We arrived on the plane today for the Reform & Resurge conference which begins on Tuesday.  Now, on our way to worship at Mars Hill Church.  Woohoo!

Linky the Link Linker

Web Sudoku: I'm addicted.
WorldMapper: A new way of seeing the world.
It's Jerry Time: Great videos...well, you need to watch it to understand.  Very cool.
King of the Hill and the Megachurch: A must see, hilarious and true.
It's Lonely Here: The photography of Christopher Wilson.  I found him after buying the Band of Horses CD (which is fantastic) and seeing three pictures of his included in the CD packaging. 
Looper: Photoblog of Devyn, who lives and captures the Loop in Chicago
Da Bulls: Oh yeah baby.  They will still lose, but this makes it fun.

Back Home

Dsc_00471We're home after a very long day of driving.  I have many new pictures from the trip, though most are more art focused than "moments to remember."  God's grace sent us to the Louisville P.F. Changs for lunch.  My parents bought us pizza for dinner as we stopped through Pontiac, IL to retrieve our cat (Calvin).  It was an exhausting day after an exhausting week, but we are so encouraged by what God has done to us and through us on this great trip.

More tomorrow.

While I Was Away...

Having a great trip to OBI in the Kentucky "sticks."  God is doing some great things as I preach.  Students are responding to the Gospel.  I'm tired, physically and emotionally, but the words keep coming.  Awesome stuff.  I should be home and posting again on Friday.  Here's a pic just outside the front door of where we are staying.

Uh, Moo!

Michael Spencer (the iMonk) is a great host.  I'm at his house right now on his wi-fi.  If you read his online stuff, he's everything you think he will be.  Well, all but the Kentucky twang.  Actually he has presented me with a very prestigious award.  I'm honored.

In other news...

William Dembski leaves SBTS for SWBTS.

Dan at Eucatastrophe has some Keller quotes.

Speaking on Love & Sacrifice

The next two weeks are shaping up to be very busy for me. 

A week from today I start speaking at Oneida Baptist Institute's "Commitment Week."  This is the boarding school in Kentucky where Michael Spencer (iMonk) is campus minister.  I will be speaking six times on the theme "Love & Sacrifice."  Preparing six messages for 3 1/2 days is a bit overwhelming, but I'm totally into it and pumped about it.  The music will be led by Matthew Smith who is with Indelible Grace.  Pretty cool, eh?

Our family of six is taking a rental van and road tripping it.  We think we will try to stay the night in Lexington, KY Saturday night so we can spend some time hanging with friends on late Saturday afternoon and evening.  (If you are in the area and want to connect, or buy us dinner, email me.)  Then Sunday through Wednesday I will be speaking at OBI to a bunch of middle and high schoolers, as well as OBI teacher and employees, about Jesus.  It's going to be a great trip.  If this comes to mind, please pray for the students and for me as I prepare.

Oh, and by the way, I pulled an April Fool's joke on my wife yesterday.  I created a new email addy, internetmonk (at) gmail.com, and sent her a message from "Michael Spencer" saying that our arrangements for housing at OBI have fallen through and that there is no place for our family to stay now, so she and the kids will probably have to stay home.  She bought it.  Sorry honey!  I love you!

Saturday Night Herald

>> Ed Stetzer's thoughts on interpreting culture.

Preaching against culture is like preaching against someone’s house. It’s just were they live.

>> You can "steal" several weeks of Bob Hyatt's slides for Sunday morning Powerpoint.  Nice resource.

>> Some of you need a good discussion board on Christians and the arts, and thankfully IAM in NYC now has a discussion board.  It's pretty new, but could be a great board with a few more active posters.  If you are into writing, painting, photography, sculpting, whatever, then check it out.  But it could also be very valuable for any Christian learning about the arts.

>> Molten Meditation is an interesting idea, and pretty well done.

>> My daughter was reflecting yesterday...

Things I Feel Like Saying...

Last night Joe Thorn and I were able to go out to dinner with each other, and more importantly our hot wives.  It was a pretty expensive place, but we were able to handle about half of the bill with a gift certificate.  Wow, it was good.  We talked for about 3 1/2 hours.  I hope everyone has friends you like to be with for long dinners and conversation.  "There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God." Ecclesiastes 2:24

I've been thinking for a while about posting mini-reviews of some of Tim Keller's articles and sermons that are available online.  Then I can link each mini-review to the article/sermon on my Tim Keller Resource page.  I want to do this 1. Because I want to keep wrestling with his ideas, and 2. Because I want to continue to help others find Keller's stuff.  Might be fun.  We'll see if I get anywhere with the idea.

Yesterday I broke my pinky toe on my left foot.  Second time I've done that.  I keep forgetting to walk around door-jams.  Now I'm in a good deal of pain and will be for at least a few weeks.  Bummer.  You know 1 Corinthians 12 is so much easier to understand when you lose use of your little toe.  You realize how even the smallest parts of the body are so crucial.

A few weeks ago our 5 year old was running through the house (he sometimes calls himself "Dash" from The Incredibles) and ran into the vacuum.  It's pretty normal for our kids to crash and burn as they run through the house.  But he was obviously in some pain.  So I grabbed him up and put him on my bed.  He was bleeding pretty bad and he basically sliced the whole tip off one of his toes.  The tip was dangling and I looked at Molly and said, "I think it's going to fall off."  My son heard and responded with all seriousness and blubbering, "OH, I DON'T WANT TO DIE!!!"  I think he takes 1 Corinthians 12 even more seriously than me.

Our cat was declawed this past Monday.  We got him back Wednesday, and he reopened a toe wound (sheesh, what's going on with toes in our house).  So he had to go back to the vet for a day and a half to keep him from reopening more wounds. 

Two days ago I went to the doctor for the second time in 5 weeks because I've had a cough going on 4 months now.  About 4 days a week I cough hard enough to give myself a massive headache.  I've been on antibiotics and Claritin, now I'm on an asthma inhaler.  I don't think it's working, but still have almost two weeks left to see if it has an effect.  The doctor also had me go in for a chest x-ray at the hospital.  I'll hear back about that soon, I suppose.  What a week.

Amos Lee's self-titled CD is amazing.  I'll probably post more on it someday.

My wife made orange chicken for lunch today with a chopped salad (I LOVE chopped salads) with some sort of orange vinaigrette dressing and it rocked like a hurricane.  Dang, she is awesome.

Okay, that's enough.