If you are new to this blog....

Welcome! The primary purpose of this blog is to explore and encourage around what it means to be winsome and sent into the world for God's glory. If you are new here, the definition of "lighthouse-searchlight" or our missional journey is a good place to start. Come peruse the blog and add me to your RSS feed!

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

top posts and sermons of 2013

Often bloggers will end the year with a review of "top posts." I'd like to do this for my blog and for my preaching. I am listing the "top posts" by the view count stat, accounting for the date posted (and how long each has been "up"). Feel free to read, share, or comment!

Top Blog Posts

Most Accessed Sermons
2013 Sermon Series
What stands out in my mind are several series I really enjoyed and learned from myself. I've linked the indexes below.
  • Jonah Series - Jonah was pretty much a wretched guy; we get a good, long look at the extent of God's love for the world
  • Lazarus Series - we spent a number of weeks slowly working through the Lazarus story and the significance of resurrection for us in daily life
  • Summer "Soak in the Word" Series - all summer we looked at well-known verses and studied them in context; we not only learned a lot about those individual and diverse texts, but also about how to read and study the Bible
  • Baptism Series - we spent six weeks (!) on baptism; highly recommended if you want to better understand this important sacrament of the church

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

on selfie's and other online behavior

Over on his blog, my friend, Nate Stratman, wrote a thoughtful piece called "Exegeting the Selfie" about the phenomenon of "selfie's," particularly among teenagers.  I'll send you there for that, but as we went back and forth a bit in the comments, I added these thoughts out of my own reflection:

As I think about WE adults and our closed Facebook Groups and customized Google searches and friends lists and ways of posting and relating online, I’ve got to think: “And we are different (than our kids)…. how?”

Our politics and discourse and information sources and online activity is collectively (and to be sure there are exceptions)… one collective grown-up selfie.

What will we do about that?

My best effort has been not to remove myself from the place where all this is going on, but to try to figure out ways to be an “authentic self” online, in groups, in seeking information, in holding discourse, in posting pictures and thoughts, in sharing…. and, back to your original topic, in how I relate in front of and with my daughters. Not perfect by a long-shot, but that’s the best I’ve come up with.
I'd be interested in hearing any thoughts YOU might have - either here or over at Nate's.

Friday, December 13, 2013

what is christian music?

Wow... quite the break from blogging that was... :)   I guess I've been too busy with THIS exciting personal development!

Anyway, I saw this post on the band Switchfoot last week and entered into a comment fray.  It's an interesting post on a topic many evangelical Christians have strong opinions on. I think the "lighthouse/searchlight" filter from the past 7-8 years has really re-framed how I see the Christian sub-culture, leading me to really appreciate Foreman's perspective (and his graciousness towards those who choose a different path).

Here's a link to the blog post (original longer article HERE) and some excerpts from the comments of lead singer, Jon Foreman. Asked if Switchfoot is a "Christian band," lead singer, Jon Foreman, responded:

"To be honest, this question grieves me because I feel that it represents a much bigger issue than simply a couple [Switchfoot] tunes... There is a schism between the sacred and the secular in all of our modern minds... None of these songs has been born again, and to that end there is no such thing as Christian music... My life will be judged by my obedience, not my ability to confine my lyrics to this box or that."
What I like is that the guy from Switchfoot does not seem to be operating out of a Christian sub-culture that American Christianity (especially evangelical) seems prone to. (I also mentioned appreciating him not taking potshots at that sub-culture, which is very in vogue to do in some circles.)

More constructively, as art or life is concerned, I think it should all be one piece. And if we can set aside the errors of the bubble (sub-culture) or syncretism (over-identifying with the culture), there is still a wide range left for those who would live in the world, but not be of it. Whether art or music or speech or works, some people are explicit about their faith and some more indirect. Both categories can be done effectively and well and both can be done offensively and ineffectively.

I don't know enough about Switchfoot to know whether they effectively inhabit the sphere of indirect witness in the world, but I have no problem with where they want to locate themselves. I'm glad there are faith-filled artists who want to inhabit that space, just as I am glad that there are faith-filled artists who want to inhabit the space of more explicit witness.

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