Thursday, May 29, 2008


Many of you know by now that I'll be headed to Thailand this Sunday, June 1st, and getting back the following Sunday. I'm going over there with 7 of the high schoolers from Perimeter Church along with a guy and girl my age, as well as my dad. We'll be staying in Bangkok and doing a lot of high school and college ministry, as well as ESL classes a couple different nights. Having never been to Asia, I'm looking forward to experiencing the many culture differences, especially regarding the Buddhist worldview that is predominant over there. Thank you to all who are supporting me this on this trip both financially and through prayer. Check back in for updates and pictures later on next week.

And for those who are interested, I've compiled a few stats about the country. Much of the info comes from the Joshua Project:

- The establishment of the Thai kingdom came in the 13th century AD
- Population = 63.5 million people
- 112 people groups
- 51 are Buddhist (50 million people)
- 9 are Muslim (5.8 million people)
- 7 are Christian (142,000 people)
- 76 people groups have less than 2% Christians (47 million people)
- 10 people groups are completely unreached (694,000 people)

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Chesterton created a happy Calvinist

John Piper writes an excellent article here regarding G.K. Chesterton, one of C.S. Lewis's mentors. Piper explains how Chesterton, though Catholic and very opposed to the doctrine of predestination and other such Calvinistic doctrine, created in him a love for the mysterious paradoxes found within Christianity.

Having read Orthodoxy within the last year myself, I'd say this book did a similar thing for me as well. I doubly recommend reading this book.

Here's how Piper's article starts:
"May 29 is G. K. Chesterton’s 134th birthday. He was a British journalist and brilliant writer. Nobody exploits the power of paradox like Chesterton.

I celebrate his birthday by recommending his book Orthodoxy.

The title gives no clue as to what you will find inside. It had a huge influence on me forty years ago in ways that would have exasperated Chesterton. He did all he could to keep me from becoming a Calvinist, and instead made me a romantic one—a happy one."

Keller's thoughts on the Gospel

Tim Keller writes about the gospel in this article in Christianity Today. He speaks to the wide range of answers we might give when someone asks us to explain the gospel. He says there is only one gospel (Gal. 2:7), but many forms of presenting it. Having listened to him a good bit over the last several years, I think he does a very good job at biblically giving more of a big story version of the gospel. I would suggest you read the whole article, but here's an exerpt that shows the basic way Keller presents the gospel:
"I use both a 'kingdom' and an 'eternal life' gospel. I find that many of my younger listeners are struggling to make choices in a world of endless consumer options and are confused about their own identities in a culture of self-creation and self-promotion. These are the people who are engaged well by the more individually-focused presentation of the gospel as free grace not works. This is a lot like the "eternal life gospel" of John. However, I have found many highly secular people over the age of 40 are not reached very well with any emphasis on personal problems. Many of them think they are doing very well, thank you. They are much more concerned about the problems of the world—war, racism, poverty, and injustice. And they respond well to a synoptic-like "kingdom gospel."

Instead of going into, say, one of the epistles and speaking of the gospel in terms of God, sin, Christ, and faith, I point out the story-arc of the Bible and speak of the gospel in terms of creation, fall, redemption, and restoration. We once had the world we all wanted—a world of peace and justice, without death, disease, or conflict. But by turning from God we lost that world. Our sin unleashed forces of evil and destruction so that now "things fall apart" and everything is characterized by physical, social, and personal disintegration. Jesus Christ, however, came into the world, died as a victim of injustice and as our substitute, bearing the penalty of our evil and sin on himself. This will enable him to some day judge the world and destroy all death and evil without destroying us."

(HT:Justin Taylor)

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Attention spans

Al Mohler comments on an interesting article about attention spans in this digital age. Here's a snippet from the original writer, Courtney Martin. (She made these observations after visiting her alma mater, Columbia University)
"Take those Facebook-surfing students, missing out on a potentially life-changing lecture about war and courage. Their diffused attention isn't criminal, but it certainly doesn't do justice to professor Dalton's lectures, their own potential for learning, or the $51,976 they or their parents are paying for a year of Ivy League education. They mirror something very real in most peoples' lives--the sense that your life is happening 'to you,' instead of feeling truly intentional about how, with whom, and on what you spend your time."
As easy as it is to point fingers to others, I realize that I've become increasingly vulnerable to all of this. I find myself more and more distracted by different "things."

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Review of The Shack

Having not read the book yet, Tim Challies provides an excellent review on what the book is all about. Having read the review, I doubt I will venture into reading the book. I suppose you'll see why...

The Fleeting Pleasures of Sin

I've been reading The Great Divorce. It's a very interesting allegory written by C.S. Lewis. In it we meet Ghosts and Solid People. The Ghosts take a bus ride up to heaven and take a look around. Most of them end up prefering where they came from and want to leave. However, the Solid People try and help the Ghosts understand that this place is what they were made for. Here's one of the Solid People, George MacDonald, explaining how sin works.
"The sensualist...begins by pursuing a real pleasure, though a small one. His sin is the less. But the time comes on when, though the pleasure becomes less and less and the craving fiercer and fiercer, and though he knows that joy can never come that way, yet he prefers to joy the mere fondling of unappeasable lust and would not have it taken from him. He'd fight to the death to keep it. He'd like well to be able to scratch; but even when he can scratch no more he'd rather itch than not."

Friday, May 16, 2008

Nicholas Alan

My friend and former roommate Nick has a new website/blog. He's a musician living in LA and is writing some good music and posting some interesting things. Check him out.

Friday, May 09, 2008


Roy and I went to see Radiohead last night. In short, it was an incredible show. But, there's a great story from the night that should be told. (This will a little longer than most of my posts...if you're into the quick version, check Roy's blog)

About a week ago, I bought two tickets via a third party internet site, for Roy and I to go to the show. Radiohead is one of Roy's favorite bands, and it worked out to be a birthday present for him. So, I get the tickets in the mail Monday. There are four sheets of paper in the envelope I received, and two of the sheets are the tickets (this will become important very soon).

Fast forward to last night. I grab two sheets of paper from my cluttered dresser right before we're heading out. The top copy is definitely a ticket and I see that I'm holding two sheets of paper, so the other must be the ticket (nope). I'm not really sure why I didn't take the extra half second effort to indeed confirm it was the ticket...I just didn't.

Roy asks me in the car, "Do you have the tickets?" And of course I reply confidently that I do. After getting down there, parking, and getting about 50 feet from the gate, I pull out my two sheets of paper...and my heart sank. The second sheet of paper was merely a receipt of some kind that does us NO good. I begin thinking I have absolutely ruined our night, just becuase I wasn't a little more careful. It was not a fun feeling. After standing there for about five minutes completely bewildered that I could have been so careless as to not double check myself, we moved toward the box office to see what our options were.

After confirming with a lady at the ticket window that she couldn't track my order that I had actually purchased two tickets, Roy and I stood there and contemplated our options. It looked like Iron Man was going to be our evening activity. And I remember praying and asking God to help me not freak out and just trust His sovereignty in this situation. And sure enough, one of the next voices I hear is from the ticket window: "...ever since this morning I haven't really wanted to go...could you just mark that I picked it up and just give it away to someone..." Roy and I looked at each other, and five minutes later we had the ticket! Thank you ticket lady, wherever you are.

My ticket was maybe 40-50 rows back on the very right side. It turns out that Roy's new ticket is dead center, maybe 15 rows back! And because there were a bunch of empty seats around him, five songs into the show, we were both rockin' out not 30 yards from Thom Yorke himself. The lights were great, the music was fun, and Thom was very querky. Even the people around us were really nice. One nice young gentlemen offered us some weed : ) which we politely declined.

The phrase of the evening was "Happy Providence." If I had never have left the extra ticket on my dresser, we would have had mediocre seats and would have been without a cool story. Instead, we got to see God at work in the most random of ways, and allow us to have incredible seats to an incredible show. I don't think it was accident at all that I prayed yesterday that I would be able to worship God in the midst of a Radiohead show. He is in control of every dice that's rolled and every single atom floating around and every situation going on in our lives. And He showed me that last night. He didn't have to. He still would have been sovereign. But He chose to, and I was able to worship Him for His sovereignty. I thank Him for this bit of happy providence.

Anyway, here are some pics:

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Evan McHugh at Smith's

Clear your calendars for Friday, May 23rd. Evan McHugh, good friend and current roommate, will be headlining at one of Atlanta's best musical venues, Smith's Olde Bar. And as a bonus, you'll get to hear Matthew Perryman Jones open up for him. Check them both out on Itunes or on their myspace pages.

Here's what CDBaby has to say about Evan:
Evan McHugh is poised to take the singer-songwriter genre and elevate its every aspect. Upon listening, it is clear that his songwriting sets him far apart from the current influx of mediocre peers. Though never one to discount the current music landscape, Evan has a gift that has already shown itself to be ahead of the curve.

With a background in graphic design, Evan's efforts have turned to the pursuit of the song, his voice, and his message. Learning a thing or three or four from his sister, Eryn, a passion for songwriting has motivated Evan from the first time he picked up a guitar at 17. He now stands at the onset of an unfamiliar yet skilled pursuit.

His debut LP, "From the Second Chair" welds together pieces of his person, his fiction, and his imaginative word smithing to create a captivating sound scape that is equaled only by his live performances. It was produced by Glenn Matullo (Shawn Mullins, Indigo Girls, John Mayer) at Orphan Studio in Atlanta, GA and will certainly be remembered as Evan's ground-breaking first effort at the end of his should be promising career.

You can find Evan touring in support of this debut around the East Coast; soon to be country.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

thoughts about atheists

I think Arnold has some interesting thoughts concerning atheists, specifically coming from some of the atheist blogs he keeps up with.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Hilton Head

I went to Hilton Head this past weekend for "Rooted", the Gathering retreat. I had never been to Hilton Head before, and my first experience was a pleasant one. It was very relaxing and I got to hang out with some great people. We had four different short sessions where a guy named Gary Purdy spoke. I really liked this guy a lot becuase I related with his story and he brought some great gospel centered truth. It was funny becuase some of the same stuff I had been thinking through last week (see Friday's post) was at the heart of his talks.

One quote has stuck with me that a professor told him one day about the secret to living the Christian life. He said to take a long enough look at your sin to be sorry for it...and then look to Jesus and how God sees you as He sees Jesus...righteous. And that's been my problem lately. I haven't been seeing a lot of my sin. But thankfully God answered my plea for help and revealed to me a ton of self-righteousness that I was embracing. So now, I can look again to the wonder of the gospel and the wonder that God has chosen me to be a part of His kingdom.

Now here are a couple of my favorite people from the weekend, for whom I am very thankful.

Jamie and IOur D-group minus Greg (we missed you buddy). Also, aren't our "Rooted" shirts cool (the dark one with the tree on it)? Thanks Roy and Kara.friend and future roomie, Scottfriends and drivers for the weekend, Caleb and Jackie. This was taken 100 miles east of Macon somewhere off I-16. They also got to feed goats, texas longhorns, geese, a llama, and an emu, somehow all cohabitating in the same pasture.

You can check out more pics here.

Friday, May 02, 2008

I am clean...and I am dirty

I was driving in my car two days ago listening to the song "You and I" by Shane and Shane. I've always loved that song, particularly because of the bridge. It's a wonderful picture of the gospel, particularly how we view our sin. Shane #1 sings the first part (God's words) and Shane #2 sings the second part (ours). Here's how it goes:
You are clean, I've called you clean...I am dirty
You are unworthy
I've called you clean...dirty
After that, Shane says "that's what I'm wanting." And I agree with him. I want to see myself as so messed up (becuase I actually am) and then hear God saying He's wiped it all away through Christ. I am dirty...but I now also have been given the righteousness of Christ. That's the gospel. And it's beautiful.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Johnny Cash

Check out this post by Matt over at the Gathering blog. He posts some good thoughts and a great video of Johnny near the end of his life, reflecting over his life.