Gone Surfing/Fishing/Sleeping/etc.


Taking a break this week through Easter from the blog in order to take care of some stuff here at work and to work on my Philosophy of Ministry and Mini-Sermon for the Church Planting Assessment Center next month.  I’ll be back at it on April Fool’s day with a special Music Monday ketchup catch-up.


Weekend Brew 03/23/13



Is It True That, “If You Don’t Have a Conversion Story, You Don’t Have a Conversion? – A good question, one that R.C. Sproul Jr. tackles with a solid biblical case.  The answer is more complicated than it would seem.  The answer is technically “yes”, but only if we broaden the definition of a conversion story to be anyone who would confess faith in Christ.  Sproul clarifies since professing faith is not what people mean when they ask this questions.  Click through to get some solid biblical answers.

Toddlers Freed From Slavery In India – Click through for a video CNN did highlighting IJM (one of my favorite organizations and one I work with on a consistent basis) and their work to free children from a brick-kiln in India.

Confessions of a Woman Who Didn’t Like Theology – This could have been my wife a handful of years ago.  This is an important article for any of you theology buffs and Bible scholars .  Show some grace and patience with those who may have a tough time or apathy towards theology.  They will come around as the Spirit works in them and they treasure Christ more and more.

The New Ministry Dictionary – I just found this, and this is great.  Our of Ur hits it out of the park  with some great new vocabulary for all you hip Christians out there!  I want a 501(c)3PO!

Morning Brew 03/22/13 – Film Reel Friday




Olympus Has Fallen – Oh no!  Terrorists in the White House!  Former Presidential guard Michael Banning (Gerard Butler) is trapped in the White House during a terrorist attack.  He works with Speaker Trumbull (Morgan Freeman) and others to keep the President (Aaron Eckhart) safe.  Doesn’t Echkart make a great statesman?  I’m sure this is not the last time he plays a President/Governor/DA/etc.  Looks like a good, as my father-in-law would say, shoot-em-up-tear-em-up film. 

The Croods – I’m usually never disappointed, with few exceptions, by animated films.  I wasn’t really intrigued by this film, but I’m sure I will see it at some point.  Doesn’t it seem like another film like Ice Age, except with humans this time?  Or, as I heard someone call it, Avatar but a cartoon?  Anyway, derivative or not, I’m sure many little kiddos will love this film and I’m sure mine would, too. 

Admission – This movie, with Tina Fey and Paul Rudd, has comedic promise.  Tina Fey plays a Princeton admissions officer who meets a college-bound kid who may just be the child she gave up years ago in an adoption.  Paul Rudd is there, and there is supposed to be funny.  Early reviews disagree with this premise.  Everyone is sad. 

Gimme the Loot – Going a different direction.  This film made some waves at SXSW in Austin, and it has a critic metascore of 84.  I am aware that critics do not necessarily drive the success or the quality of a film, but this movie sounds good.  It follows a graffiti “tagging team” as they seek to “bomb” (slang for spraying a target) the New York Met’s Apple at Citi Field. 


Reviews for Olympus Has Fallen are interesting.  It seems that Marshall Fine thinks it is merely a Die Hard rip-off.  And what do you know, Alonso Duralde thinks the same thing, as does Todd McCarthy from Yahoo! Movie News.  Fine’s review is hysterical, comparing the facial expressions of Aaron Eckhart to the suffering audiences paying to see the movie.  Apparently, this is one to stay away from and watch on Netflix.  However, I’m sure that my father-in-law would like it. 

Marshall has a different, and surprisingly positive, take on Tina Fey and Paul Rudd’s Admission.  Apparently he thinks that the Fey/Rudd combo goes well, which is a surprising about-face from what everyone else has been saying about the film.  Christopher Orr from the Atlantic has a more dubious article about the film, which I think is a tad overblown and might be taking a story a tad too seriously.  He could have just said it is not a good movie and left it at that. 

The Croods is getting some good reviews.  Alonso Duralde says the movie is much better and treats the characters and landscape with a more serious air than other prehistoric films like Ice Age.  However, Bob Mondello at NPR disagrees and says the movie breaks no new ground and is just a new version of Ice Age. 


WATCH new trailer for Star Trek: Into Darkness

Apparently JJ Abrams had a Superman origin story movie in the works, which was dumped to the wayside in favor of Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel

Harrison Ford/Han Solo thinks that his return for Star Wars VII is going to happen.  That would jive with other reports from George Lucas that Ford, Fisher, and Hammill will all be back for the new Star Wars movie.  I. Am. Excited.

Ruth Ann Steinhagen, the inspiration behind the Lady in Black from the movie The Natural, died a couple of months ago.  READ this story to find out a bit more about the lady and the inspiration for the movie character


Morning Brew 03/21/13


Death and the Language of Victory – Nick Lannon, at the Mockingbird blog, talks about the recent ESPN 30 for 30 special on Jim Valvano.  He focuses on the shock of the people around Jimmy V that he did not win against cancer and ended up dying.  I feel this dual pull of both wanting someone to get better and also addressing the finite nature of our lives.  We tend to, as prosperity-driven Americans, not think of death, and posture our language with “beating” cancer or “winning” over death.  Good blog post on re-orienting our thinking that we are, “a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes,” (James 4:14). 

3 Things You Must Manage Well to Lead Well – Good leadership requires good management.  I found this article from Greg Baird at Pastors.com helpful.  I am poor at managing my time (I do too much) and as a result I am unable to manage my energy level.  Getting these three things in balance is important to being an effective leader and especially if you are going to be a leader of leaders. 

Are You Being Honest With Yourself? – No, I’m not.  I tend to be an optimist, and so a lot of times I tend to gloss things over.  If I was honest with myself, I would see more of what needs the Spirit’s power, what needs less of me and my pride, what false lies of Satan swirl in my head, and what sin continues to exist in my heart.  This is a really good article from Mac Lake with some penetrating questions to ask yourself if you are being honest, or just buying the lie or perpetuating the lie. 

A Harsh Reality of Leading Today – Honest, short piece of advice from Ron Edmonson.  This was a good word for me this morning and (honestly) I wish I had heard this years ago.  Thanks Ron!

25 Things I’ve Learned From Church Planting – My wife is reading Christine Hoover’s book, The Church Planting Wife: Help and Hope For Her Heart, and has been benefitting from it.  I plan on reading it when she is done.  These are helpful, short bursts for the church planter, planting team, or planter’s wife. 

March Madness Explained…Star Wars Style – You’re welcome.  NCAA Tourney plus Star Wars equals entertainment overload!

Morning Brew 03/20/13


In Love and In Debt – Money is a very serious matter, a stewardship issue, and a major point of contention in marriage and relationships.  The Resurgence has a short article on how new married couples can work together to make sure that money is not their treasure and planning for your financial future. 

Why Studying Doctrine Is The Best Medicine – Tim Keller always has a good word, and he shares a good word on why studying doctrine is good for our spiritual health.  I would concur with Keller that our culture tells us to check out, relax, take a vacation, clear your mind, in order to obtain health.  However, the Bible tells us to think about the big picture and who God is and what He has done and that re-orients our life and emotions and brings spiritual health. 

Church Plant Sees Torrent of New Life – So this is a bit of a plug and an attaboy and a pile of excitement!  Torrent Church in Prescott, WI is highlighted in Converge Worldwide’s News Section.  Israel Haas, the lead planter, is my former mentor and a good friend.  Very excited for Torrent and the Haas’ and excited to go up there sometime in the future to spend a week learning from their church! 

Where Did the Idea of Having a Pope Come From? – David Wells at Ligonier has a helpful article educating us non-Catholics (although, I am a former Catholic), on where the idea for a Pope came from and both the Bible arguments and traditional arguments for a pope.  Also, Ed Stetzer has a good article on why non-Catholics should care about the Pope

attoos – Yes, I like controversy, and so does Joe Thorn.  Joe has a two-part blog looking at what the Bible has to say about tattoos and why he has tattoos.  You know, I should probably get one, since I have no objection, but those shakin’ needles freak me out, dude.  However, I found these two articles helpful and confirmed what I already thought about tattoos, that they are just fine and people who freak about them are doing so unnecessarily.  Part 1 and Part 2.

Morning Brew 03/19/13


10 Things Pastors Wish They Knew Before They Became Pastors – Really cool article from Pastors.com that polled different pastors on what they wish they knew before they entered ministry.  #10 is especially relevant, for me, at the moment.  Was just a pall bearer in Grandma Bette’s funeral yesterday and death is definitely something I can talk about, but still hits me like a ton of bricks when it comes to the pastoral implications.

Rob Bell on Gay Marriage – For some reason I feel like having something insanely controversial on the Morning Brew today.  Rob Bell has come out (pun intended) in favor of same-sex marriage.  No real surprises and I understand his heart, but agree with Christ and Pop Culture that we the church cannot follow Rob Bell where he is going.  I can love and affirm the humanity and Imago Dei of a homosexual person, but I will not and certainly the Church cannot affirm their lifestyle.  I know this is ugly, sticky, anda messy subject, but it is a conversation the Church will continue to wrestle with and discuss.  I disagree with Bell that the ship has sailed on this issue in regards its continued debate in the Church, but I agree that the culture has already settled the issue and expects the church to get in line. 

No More Silence – Really, really great interview of Boz Tchividjian from G.R.A.C.E by Rachel Held Evans.  She is doing a whole week on sexual abuse victims and child abuse, and I am intently listening in.  I think this is one of the few areas where Evans and I would see eye to eye and I completely agree that this blog week is needed.  There is such a misunderstanding of abuse in the church and Tchividjian is THE Christian go-to-guy on this issue.  Read the whole thing, it is well worth it. 

Gratitude Fueled Obedience – Good stuff from Brent Thomas on what motivates out obedience to God’s law and Jesus’ commands.  Read to the end for Sam Storms’ illustration of Jason and the Sirens from Greek mythology.  It hits the nail on the head of how grace motivates our hearts compared to legalism and rules.  Awesome stuff!

Morning Brew 03/18/13 Music Monday



Spotify Playlist of the Week – If you haven’t already and are a Spotify user, here is my running list of the best songs of 2013, IMHO.  Best in Show 2013


Mazes – Ores & Minerals – Spent the whole week digging this album from the Brit Pop Guitar Indie Rock sounds of Mazes.  There is something a little weird about their music, and I like it!  They are an interesting blend of guitar rock and indie rock that hits the right vibes.  When I listen to them, I think of some weird cross between The Strokes, The Velvet Underground, and Jimmy Eat World (strange, I know).  Check out the songs Bodies, Ores & Minerals, and Sucker Punched.


NPR has their First Listen’s of the week that include Wavves (awesome!), DJ Koze, and Julian Lynch (this one intrigues me).

WATCH Local Natives play their new record Hummingbird World Cafe.  This is a great album, btw

SXSW just wrapped up and so let the video sharing commence.  Here is Youth Lagoon’s set from SXSW.  Also, Youth Lagoon’s new album just dropped and it is a beast of a good record!

Iron Maiden is serving up something new, but it’s not a new album.  They are putting out a new beer, Trooper Ale.

Minnesota station, The Current, had 14 artists interpret Beck’s sheet music release “Song Reader”.  This video is The Twin Cities Funk and Soul All-Stars performing “Sorry”  It’s a pretty awesome version and what the Current did is exactly what one would expect of Beck’s new “album”

Here is The Last Bison, last week’s New Music spotlight, performing on World Cafe.  Really, really good and catchy music

Josh Garrels, who makes great music and his last release, Love & War & The Sea In Between, is fantastic, is giving away all 5 of his albums on Noisetrade!  Go get the now!

Flavorwire has a cool article exploring the 12 personas of David Bowie.  All of this comes with the release of his new studio album, The Next Day, which is a solid album