Friday, June 30, 2006

Conservative Evangelical Churches Ignore the Bible

Why is it that most "non-liturgical" churches (i.e. Baptist, non-denominational, etc.) ignore the Bible in their services. We defend inerrancy. We promote expository preaching. We pride ourselves in not being tied down to the lectionary. So we end up reading (at the most) a small paragraph of Scripture, normally the sermon text. Truth be told, on any given Sunday you could walk into nearly any mainline or liberal church and hear way more Scripture read aloud in one service than in most conservative evangelical churches. Don't get me wrong, a traditional use of the lectionary is no replacement for God-centered, Christ-exalting, Spirit-empowered preaching.

The absence of intentional and substantial Scripture readings has created a vacuum that has been quickly filled with the new sacrament called music. So instead of actually hearing from God himself, we spend 15-20 minutes singing about the concept of knowing and hearing from God ("I want to know You, I want to hear Your voice"). If we and our congregations want to know God and want to hear His voice, I've got a idea that I heard from a guy named Paul:

"Give attention to the public reading of Scripture" (1 Timothy 4:13)!

Friday, June 16, 2006

Spurgeon Sabbatical Redux

I've been blessed not only to attend but also to lead times of gathered worship in song, prayer, and Scripture for Gordon-Conwell's Spurgeon Sabbatical this June 19-29. Last summer I attended as a student, was mentored by 15 or so awesome pastors and instructed by the pastorally-sensitive and theologically-rich teaching of Dr. Scott Hafemann. Last year we studied the letter of 1 Peter and the book On Being a Theologian of the Cross. This year we will be studying 2 Peter "Real Faith and the Reality of Judgment" and Eugene Peterson's book Christ Plays in 10,000 Places.

Please pray for me that I would be used by God to lead times of gathered worship that truly encourage these men to exult in King Jesus and that prepare our hearts and minds for all that God has in store for them during this study sabbatical.

(If I were one of those cool bloggers out there, I might consider doing 'live blogging.' But since I'm not, we don't have to worry about that!)

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

What I've been up to lately

Lately, it's felt like I was eight years old again, playing in the mud and pouring rain. The first week of June, I took a 'vacation' and built a huge retaining wall behind our house. My father in law, Ivan, is the man responsible for moving all the boulders with his tractor. We worked rain or shine. Actually, I can't say enough about Ivan. He has been uber generous towards us. It took us almost the entire week to get this 60' wall completed. Why'd we build it? Because the rocks were there. And because we didn't want water running down the hill into our basement.

We've also been fixing the final grade around the house so we can put loam down so that we can then put our grass seed down so that in a few months we can all sit down on our front lawn.

Baby Otte is on the way!

If you hadn't heard the wonderful news, Heidi and I are expecting our first child!!!! Heidi had her first ultrasound yesterday--what an experience! When we saw our baby's heart beating, we both started crying. Unbelievable! This is quite a good shot (I'm told) for 10 weeks. Baby Otte is just chillin' on his or her back, giving us a good view of face, hands, and belly. What a gift!

I desire that our child will someday pray:

For You formed my inward parts;
You wove me in my mother's womb.
I will give thanks to You,
for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Your works,
And my soul knows it very well.

Psalm 139:13-14