O for a thousand tongues to sing

Posted by tom | Dec 6, 2006

O for a thousand tongues to sing
My great Redeemer’s praise,
The glories of my God and King,
The triumphs of His grace!

Welcomed me into Charles Wesley is hard to forget. Soon we'll all be joining in


There will be signs

Posted by tom | Dec 4, 2006

in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on the earth distress among the nations confused by the roaring of the sea and the waves. People will faint from fear and foreboding of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of heaven will be shaken. Then we will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory... (Luke 21:25-36).

"There is a part of me that wants to avoid the uncomfortable realities represented here -- especially during this blessed season that falls between Thanksgiving and Christmas. But the truth is, the scenario described in Luke 21 is much closer to real life than the dreamy images of beautiful angels, lowing cattle and a gentle mother nursing the Christ-child that we often associate with the Christmas season. At the global level, our days and nights are filled with images of the very dynamics described here: the unresolved tensions of clashing nations, violent interpersonal conflict, the roaring of sea and tsunami waves and hurricane flooding. At a more personal level, we are plagued by our own confusion and distress about conflicts we can't resolve, questions we can't answer, failures among ourselves and others that cause us to question the very Gospel message that we proclaim." -- excerpted from Ruth Hayley Barton's Light for our Darkness.

Recovering the Holy of the Christmas Holiday

Posted by tom | Dec 3, 2006

Light of lights! All gloom dispelling,
Thou didst come to make thy dwelling
Here within our world of sight.
Lord, in pity and power,
Thou didst in our darkest hour
Rend the clouds and show thy light.

Praise to thee in earth and heaven
Now and evermore be given,
Christ, who art our sun and shield.
Lord, for us thy life thou gavest,
Those who trust in thee thou savest,
All thy mercy stands revealed.

--St. Thomas Aquinas (1224-1274)
Medieval theologian and philosopher

I came across this in Recovering the Holy of the Christmas Holiday. Set aside some time today to begin your Advent reflections.

Looking for Christmas music in the house?

Posted by tom | Dec 2, 2006

We'd encourage you to download Sufjan Stevens' streaming Christmas music. Our family's been listening to Songs For Christmas almost non-stop since we received our order from Hearts and Minds Bookstore, where it is in stock :-) Come on! Let's Boogey to the Elf Dance! (Volume 3, Song 2) is Tom's favorite. Let's sing-a-long during the Advent season.

FYI: Pitchfork's review.

A prayer to reflect upon

Posted by tom | Dec 2, 2006

Help Me Out, Lord . . .

As you helped Abraham, and Isaac, and devious Jacob;

Joseph, and his dastardly brothers;
Moses, Aaron, and those disobedient children of the Exodus;
Samson the judge
and Samson the condemned prisoner;
David the sweet singer,
and David the seductive sinner;
Righteous Daniel in the Lion's den;
renegade Jonah in the belly of the great fish;
Holy Hezekiah on his bed of sickness;
unholy Manasseh in a Babylonian prison;
Peter walking on the waters;
Peter sinking under the waves through unbelief;
Paul in prison; Paul in prison; Paul in prison . . .
Faithful Paul with his thorn;
Sinful Paul, who confessed:
"I know that in me, that is, in my flesh, dwells no good thing";
Sinful Paul, who confessed again:
"There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus."

Help me out, Lord.

As you have so many times before.

Thank you, Lord. Again.

-- excerpted from Wright Doyle, who ministers to Chinese in this country and overseas through his work as director of the China Institute in Charlottesville, Virginia. He also serves as general editor for the BIOGRAPHICAL DICTIONARY OF CHINESE CHRISTIANITY. Posted in full at http://www.wqotw.org/quote.php?date=2006-11-28

Evil and the Justice of God

Posted by tom | Nov 29, 2006


Just finished N.T. Wright's new InterVarsity Press (IVP) materials on the road trip coming back from Thanksgiving at Bill and Harriet's in Virginia (great to be with all of you). Had to get this done before I picked up the development of material for the Questioning Evangelism (Randy Newman. Kregel, 2004) Adult elective.

With regard to the material on Evil, best to read Evil and the Justice of God before viewing the Evil on DVD, but if you're short of time . . . The DVD's (Evil and Resurrection) would be helpful for leading a Lenten Adult Eduction or Small Group series. They come divided into 4 sections each, along with a discussion guide. Here's some quotes from Evil and the Justice of God with regard to the Christus Victor theme in his theology:



Posted by tom | Nov 28, 2006

Here's Terry Tiessen's clarifying post 86 on Scot McKnight's blog from conversation regarding accessiblism as described in Who Can Be Saved? (another IVP piece). Something on my mind with Urbana just 29 days away.

You said: "In your idea of accessibilism, though, you are saying that without proclamation, some will find faith that is acceptable to God."


The Haggard Truth

Posted by tom | Nov 14, 2006

Thank-you to Derek for bringing this prophetic piece by Gordon MacDonald to the attention of a youth ministry prayer group of which I am a part. Please join us in reading this piece, lifting up this concern, and praying for ministry leaders to receive the grace/accountability to walk faithfully in Christ.

Note: These words probably strike a little deeper for me as a member of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, the organization in which MacDonald fell a number of years ago,

I've spent more than a little time trying to understand how and why some men/women in all kinds of leadership get themselves into trouble whether the issues be moral, financial, or the abuse of power and ego. I am no stranger to failure and public humiliation. From those terrible moments of twenty years ago in my own life I have come to believe that there is a deeper person in many of us who is not unlike an assassin.

Urbana Speaker Interviews

Posted by tom | Nov 13, 2006

Continue to intercede for the upcoming Urbana Student Mission Convention. In particular, lift up the Open for Business Track, a specialized track for those who have a passion or growing interest in business and global missions. It will build, mobilize, and equip a multi-generational network of business practitioners who seek to harness the potential of business to contribute to the global advance of God's kingdom around the world.

Theresa and I will serve in this track. Currently, we're praying for track preparations and participants, including Hyunjin (a PhD student involved with our work at Pitt).

Also lift up the conference speakers as they prepare. Take a moment to browse over and be challenged and encouraged by the speaker interviews:

Ray Baake as he discusses how to think about Urban ministry across space and time: around the world and beyond our own lives.

Rick Warren as he discusses sacrifice, opportunity, and more.

Worthy is the Lamb: Revelation 5:1-14

Posted by tom | Nov 11, 2006

Hayley and Ellen are watching The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe as I type [Hope you've marked your calendar for Prince Caspian on May 16, 2008]. Theresa and I are having quite the conversation regarding the book (it's not in the book . . . any scenes come to your mind, hurry!), World War II (look at those planes, that really happened), and evil (she doesn't look that bad). Where is Aslan? I thought there was no Christmas in Narnia? Winter is almost over. Long live Aslan and Merry Christmas!

We'll let you know more on our thoughts later. As you live in the reality of Jesus the Christ, enter the Sabbath (and each day) with the image of the Lion and the Lamb:


Christians & Cultural Power

Posted by tom | Nov 3, 2006

About 40 students and faculty gathered in Huntsman Hall at Penn's Wharton Business School to hear Andy Crouch speak about this larger societal concern. Below are my notes, but here is a link to a copy of the transcript (and an audio file is coming).

Crouch began by defining evangelicals as those which take the Bible seriously and try to share their faith with others. Then he briefly contrasted the extreme views on Christian Cultural power, with Sam Harris' Letter to a Christian Nation (also see Cornell's http://www.theocracywatch.org) on one end of the spectrum and The Next Conservatism, A Series by Paul M. Weyrich as part of Concerned Woman for America's resource material on the other.

Due to the brief presentation time and to allow for more dialogue, Crouch began by placing his thoughts on the table, Christians are gaining power and access in institutions. Fears of theocracy are unfounded. I fear Christians already have more power than we know how to use.


Simply Christian

Posted by tom | Oct 26, 2006

There were only 128 seats in Georgetown's McShain Lounge. And with 19 minutes until start time they were mostly taken. With 13 minutes until start time one of the coordinators of the event asked non-students to move into the back to give space for students and as the crowd became standing room only, I saw the speaker slip into the front row and not too long after that Kevin Offner, InterVarsity's Graduate and Faculty Minister in D.C., made his way to the front. A quick count revealed over 70 people standing and students began to fill in spaces on the floor at the foot of the speaker. What's the buzz about being Simply Christian?


Lessons of Love:

Posted by tom | Oct 11, 2006

Redemptive Tales from the Tragedy at Nickel Mines. Theresa and I had the opportunity to hear Don Kraybill's, senior fellow and interim director Elizabethtown College's Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies, stirring reflections on the many religious and cultural expressions of love and good will from both Amish and their English neighbors during the past week, which seemed to him a much longer time as his center has been in almost 24/7 contact w/the media since the shooting. After fielding some questions and comments, he invited Eli, a member of the Amish community, to share in handling some additional questions with him (a sacred moment as channel 21's cameras went strangely dim in this media obsessed culture of ours). Below are some notes which I took from his presentation. I attempted to make them readable, so in some places these are not his exact words. May you find them an encouragement. Please post questions, insights, responses . . . If you're not in the Lancaster area, I'm particularly interested in how the media has covered the events and the metatheme of forgiveness in your area.

Note: if you're in the area, we'd love have you to join us for his Amish Life and Culture Lecture Series: October 17, 8pm, From Buggy to the Byte: How the Amish Tame Technology; October 24, 8pm, From Plows to Profits: The Rise of Amish Business; October 31 8pm, Bush Fever: The Amish and the 2004 Election; November 9, 7:30pm, Horse and Buggy Mennonites: Hoofbeats of Humility in a Postmodern World. Hope to see you there (and maybe we can arrange to have some additional conversation before or after a lecture)! Onto the presentation,


What can we as parents

Posted by tom | Oct 6, 2006

and grandparents do to prepare our children and grandchildren to be responsible adults and God-fearing men and women? Thank-you for the question June! Here's the beginning of a response, incomplete as it reflects thoughts laregley on the high school to college transition. I have more to say from the perspective of parenting Hayley, Ellen, and Eden, but that will have to wait another day. Feel free to respond/probe further. I would highly value some of your insights on this topic.

Did you see the recent NY Times piece, Evangelicals fear the loss of their teenagers? I believe that many rightly fear the loss of youth. Why do so many go astray when they reach college, b/c they have not come face-to-face w/the God who is -- particularly through the daily life of their community of faith and family as they reproduce the likeness of Christ in our world. Growing up religious, means for most what Christian Smith and Melinda Lundquist Denton term moralistic therapeutic deism in Soul Searching: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers.

Simply put, moralistic therapeutic deism is . . .


Bowersox family prayers

Posted by tom | Oct 6, 2006

Take a moment to visit Peter and Becky's blog to learn about (or be updated on) their children Garty, Patience, and Joshua. In particularly pray for healing for

1. Garty, who has pneumonia and appears to have malaria

2. Becky, who has a nasty case of poison oak that has made her arms very painful, swollen, and barely able to bend.

Lord God, merciful Father, care for the little ones. Watch over them in all their innocence. Guard, guide, protect. They are so vulnerable in this world gone awry. Famine, violence, and abuse abound. They have no shield, no defense. Be their shield, O Lord. Be their defense. El Shaddai, send your holy angels to protect the children. Protect them as they skip down the street. Protect them as they play on the school grounds. Protect them as they sleep through the night. Protect them from all physical harm. Protect them from all emotional harm. Protect them from all spiritual harm. Keep them from the influence of the evil one: from evil friendships, from evil thoughts, from evil acts [And be with those such as Peter and Becky through whom you act in this creation. Provide them with vision, direction, and strength. May they be your model, you light, your presence]. This I ask in the strong name of Jesus who always welcomed the little ones into his presence. Amen.

Brian McLaren

Posted by tom | Oct 3, 2006

continues to receive significant attention in the media. Some may remember my excerpt from A Bridge Far Enough. Recently he's been featured in the Washington Post, Evangelical Author Puts Progressive Spin On Traditional Faith. If you're not familar w/him, I'd encourage you read this piece. Which begins:


Georgetown Chaplain Resigns

Posted by tom | Oct 2, 2006

Over Barring of Outside Ministries. Please continue to keep InterVaristy's work at Georgetown in your prayers.

God, Madonna, and VeggieTales

Posted by tom | Sep 23, 2006

So I haven't seen VeggieTales on Saturday morning to address whether protests are necessary w/regard to the integrity of the production, also see God references quashed. Anyone have insight on this issue? I tried to find it this morning, but the Ryder Cup (i.e., U.S. vs. Europe in golf for the uninitiated) has preempted morning kids programming.

But I do doubt if Jesus were alive today, he would be doing the same thing as Madonna (see the first piece). It's not surprising to me that it is difficult to articulate the Gospel w/clarity in today's popular culture, it has only been easy for very brief periods of time in isolated geographic regions. The Gospel turns the upside down world right-side up and causes quite a stirr.

My early Saturday morning thought (I really shouldn't be blogging when I'm not all together yet, but here we go) . . .


Paul Clark Concert

Posted by tom | Sep 16, 2006

Besides Phil Keagy and John Michael Talbot, I (Tom) don't have any exposure to Jesus Movement artists. I've heard of The Imperials, Larry Norman, 2nd Chapter of Acts (and A Band Called David), Randy Stonehill, and Vigilantes of Love, but lack familiarity. So it was good to hear Paul Clark tonight.

He has a powerful testimony involving coming free from drugs and social rebellion as an 18 year old during the hippie movement by reading a Christian book of his grandmother. From then on, new songs poured forth laying part of the foundation for the Jesus Movement and Contemporary Christian Music (CCM). Tonight, he opened with calling people to be born again, questioning religious talk, warning us of the dangers of the false prophets of our day and the comfortability of gated Christian communites.

Paul spent some time sharing about the Apostle Paul as being a role model and urged us to not let our foundations crumble. His haunting


Art for God's Sake

Posted by tom | Aug 29, 2006

The following posting is this week's Worship Quote of the Week, -- let me know your thoughts.

There are many reasons why some churches have a negative view of the arts. Art trades in images, and images easily lend themselves to idolatry. Artists know this from their own experience. In their work they encounter the glory at the foundation of things, and they feel its power over the heart. . . .

Ultimately this kind of art dishonors God because it is not in keeping with the truth and beauty of his character. It also undermines the church's gospel message of salvation in Christ. Art has tremendous power to shape culture and touch the human heart. Its artifacts embody the ideas and desires of the coming generation. This means that what is happening in the arts today is prophetic of what will happen in our culture tomorrow . . .


Re-enrolling in the

Posted by tom | Aug 28, 2006

School of Christ as an individual or family this fall and find yourself looking for material? Then take some time this week to download (for free in PDF) or bookmark (to return to regularly) a piece by one of those who have gone before us in Christ, e.g., St. Augustine's The Confessions, John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress, G. K. Chesterton's Orthodoxy, or Brother Lawrence's The Practice of the Presence of God. In addition, one can find works by the early Church fathers, hymns, and an extensive study Bible resource at the new Christian Classics Ethereal Library. May you find these writings a blessing in the coming days, weeks, months, years . . . for that matter, through eternity.

PS. Pics of getting on the bus the first day of first grade at their new school! Thanks Carl :-)

Front page Washington Post

Posted by tom | Aug 27, 2006

Georgetown bars ministries from campus

Georgetown University has banned outside Protestant ministries from holding on-campus events and using the school's name, prompting group leaders to question whether the prestigious Catholic school is restricting religious choice.

"All we're wanting is diversity," said Kevin Offner, a staff leader for InterVarsity Graduate Christian Fellowship. "We're simply saying, 'Can't we worship and conduct our meetings in a way appropriate to our tradition?' And it feels like [Georgetown is] saying 'no'" . . .

Included in the email forwarded to me by a faculty friend was a note from Kevin, who stated in closing, May those of us who know Jesus Christ continue to trust Him and remain vigilant in following Him, whatever the cost.

Amen. Please join me as I set aside Tuesday as a day to focus my prayer upon our work at Georgetown.

Call to prayer for

Posted by tom | Aug 25, 2006

InterVarsity's ministry at Georgetown, where we have been asked to leave campus (along w/other 'affiliates' such as Chi Alpha) . InterVarsity has faced similar issues in past, as the new academic year begins, pray for a hedge of protection around our labors at over 560 campuses. For details on the Georgetown situation read

Campus Ministry Removes Affiliates

“As a result of our new direction for the upcoming academic year, we have decided to not renew any covenant agreements with any of the Affiliated Ministries,” Rev. Constance C. Wheeler, a university Protestant chaplain, said in a letter to affiliated officers dated Aug. 14. “While we realize this comes as a great disappointment, please know we are moving forward with this decision only after much dialogue with the Lord.”

The decision came as a surprise to many student and adult members of the affiliated groups, who defended their organizations as important members of the university’s educational and religious mission.

Lord God, let us

Posted by tom | Aug 14, 2006

keep your Scriptures in mind and meditate on them day and night, persevering in prayer, always on watch. We beg you, Lord, to give us real knowledge of what we read and to show us not only how to understand it but how to put it into practice and to obtain spiritual grace enlightened by the Holy Spirit, through Jesus Christ our Lord, whose power and glory will endure throughout all ages. Amen.

Origen of Alexandria (c. 185-254), theologian, philosopher, exegete, and teacher. As quoted in The Communion of Saints: Resources from the Worldwide Church, an article by Anne E. Zaki, REFORMED WORSHIP, June 2005, No. 76. Reformed Worship

Brought to my attention by "WORSHIP QUOTE OF THE WEEK"

Picked up

Posted by tom | Aug 12, 2006

Richard Foster's Meditative Prayer (among several other booklets and a few copies of Hymns II) from the out-going regional director's give-away table at the Mid-Atlantic Staff Conference. Thank-you Steve!

Here's a quote he takes from fellow Quaker William Penn, the founder of Pennsylvania, regarding meditation send[ing] us into our ordinary world with greater perspective and balance. As we learn to listen to the Lord, we gain new practical handles on life's ordinary problems:

«Previous   1 2 3 ... 14 15 16 17 18 19 20  Next»