Apr 242009

This week has been an extremely full week of Christian/ church leadership conferences: Exponential Conference in Orlando, Gospel Coalition in Chicago, and Catalyst West Coast in Irvine, California. All of that adds up to many hours of inspirational and motivational speeches.

I attended my first Catalyst conference, which ended a few hours earlier, and undoubtedly the most highly-charged energetic kind of Christian leadership event I’ve ever attended. I do love going to these events to meetup with people in person and not so much to attend the sessions — I buy the recordings for the content. I can always get the content plus have the ability to rewind and review, whereas being able to talk with people face-to-face is irreplaceable.

I did hear several of the messages, and sure it moves me to do something. Everything grabs my attention. Everything is urgent. Everything is so compelling. Everything is so good.

Kinda feels like being drawn and quartered. It’s a tough call to choose the one that God has for me, and that is not everything. I can’t do it all.

Plus, It’s less easy for me because I don’t think of myself as a natural born leader, or an organizational leader type. It seems to me that most, if not all, of these platformed Christian leaders are driven Type-A goal-oriented entrepreneurs who have launched their own organizations. So when I hear them, it takes an enormous effort for me to translate all of that into something that could work for me.

Sure, God can do it all. And I could take a flying leap of faith and “trust God” blindly. The impulsive and spontaneous me would love to sell all and follow Jesus, to jump into a new endeavor with full abandon and see the hand of God move. But, that naive leap would hurt me badly. Been there. Done that.

I confess I haven’t figured it out. And I have to keep leaning into God to walk by faith and not by sight. No leaping. Just walking.

Aside: the audios and videos from The Gospel Coalition 2009 are online already and free to listen and watch! One of my favorites is Tim Keller’s The Grand Demythologizer: The Gospel and Idolatry.

Oct 192008

Astonishing to hear Tim Keller say at the begining of video segment 2 of 6, “I disagree completely…” Watch the videos for context of this conversation between Tim Keller, John Piper, and D.A. Carson.

The video is shot in real-time conversation between 3 persons, which is way more visually interesting than the typical interviewer-interviewee dialogue. [the video's shot in black-and-white, no need to adjust your monitor]

I’ve put the 6 video segments together in this playlist for contiguous convenient viewing. [aside: why I like Keller more than Piper]
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Aug 112008

Justin Taylor posted this gracious plea titled “Should You Pass on Bad Reports?” by Tim Keller & David Powlison.

Permission is granted to mirror the article, and I’ve chosen to extract several excerpts:

… One obvious genius of the internet is that it’s “viral.” Information explodes to the whole world. … Instantaneous transmission produces some wonderfully good things. Truth, like joy, is infectious. A great idea feeds into a million inboxes. But it also produces some disastrous evils. Lies, rumors, and disinformation travel just as far and just as fast.

So what should you do when you hear “bad reports” about a person or church or ministry? We want to offer a few thoughts on how to remain constructive. To paraphrase Ephesians 4:29, “Let no unwholesome words come out of your computer, but only what is constructive, in order to meet the need of the moment, that what you communicate will give grace to everyone who ever reads it.” [nb: other key verses = James 4:10-11, Proverbs 17:9.

… Passing on negative stuff always undermines love and respect. It’s never nourishing, never constructive, never timely, never grace-giving.

… To savor the tasty morsels of gossip and bad reports is very different from grieving, caring, and wishing nothing less than the mercies of Christ upon all involved.

… you only really need to know something if it touches your sphere of life and relationships.

… If you hear bad reports about other Christians you must either cover it with love or go to them personally before speaking of it to any others.

… to simply suspend judgment. Don’t pass on bad reports.

Read the full article.

We desparately need more civil conversations in the public square of the blogosphere, especially among professing Christians. I think this article masterfully deals with not passing on bad reports via blogging, and to deal with personal sins personally. What may show up in a follow-up article or in the collective wisdom of the crowds, is how to discuss issues online when individuals have obvious disagreements.

What have you noticed about watch blogs? I find it unfortunately ugly when certain individuals equate a difference of opinion / conviction as if it were a public moral sin. It’s not.

Sep 212006

People have their preferences. I like Tim Keller more than John Piper. This isn’t to say that I don’t like Piper, only that I like Keller more in an celebrity deathmatch comparison kind of way. Both are phenomenally great preachers and teachers, gifted and anointed in ways that I’m not, just as I’m gifted in some ways they’re not. Some people and pastors (Sam and Billy) really admire Piper a lot. I won’t make a point-by-point comparison; I’ll simply list my reasons.
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