Sara and I took off from Normal this morning around 8:00 ish for the North American Christian Convention. Many of you may not know what this is, but it's a 60+ year old gathering of independent Christian churches (which is the tradition Eastview comes from - the convention is sort of a non-decision making, non-denomination, denominational gathering). I'll hear some good sermons (and hopefully write one for Sunday), connect with some old ministry friends (encouragement is important), and I have two breakfasts scheduled where I will get to mentor some younger guys in ministry (which means I'm becoming an old guy in ministry). The trip was made more enjoyable because we brought the bike over. It was a perfect sunny day for a ride!
A couple of comments on my previous blog: One having to do with networks and how a Christian should listen to them (the CNN/Fox News dillemma). Here's the deal. I watch both, but I'll have to be honest and tell you I am convicted more often than not that I'm wasting my time. Of course, both have political agendas (no matter how much they say they don't) but that's not what bothers me. What I find really destructive is the whole genre' of 24 hour news. The truth is that both cover a lot of stuff that is a waste of time, fabricated, or embellished to fill air time with meaningless words. I think this is harmful to the use of language in our culture. When we manipulate language and news to try and make things that normally aren't of interest a headline; then we have the effect of making words unimportant. We are becoming a society of "blah, blah, blah, blah, blah". You know why this is so crucial to me, right? Because I use words to communicate the WORD and if people get accustomed to tuning out what is being said....well then preaching suffers. So, I would say Christians should watch news discriminately. When there is something happening (like Michael Jackson's death) watch to get the information. But if you're still watching "breaking news" or "alerts" after four hours and they are still saying the same thing...turn it off and go read your Bible.
In a similar note, a late comment asked about my impression on popular books like "the shack" etc... is that you must remember they are fictional writings. This means they may be helpful in expressing God emotions, or giving God perspectives, etc... But they can't be taken as conclusive when it comes to theology. the scary thing for a pastor is that a newer believer or unbeliever reads these books and take them as the way God is. This leads to a lot of heretical thinking. So I'd say make sure you read the Bible at least as much (really more) than any other books and you'll be o.k.
Finally, the baptism I got to do in 2nd hour yesterday...this lady was so broken and thankful for Jesus grace and proud to confess him as Lord and filled with tears of joy as she broke free from the watery grave and overwhelmed with the love of Christ. I love it...never gets old...and the angels rejoiced.