I’m Reading…

1-Prodigal God by Tim Keller

Good book…enjoyed Reason for God more.  Not alot of new stuff if your read The Return of the Prodigal Son by Henri Nouwen

2-How Soccer Explains the World: An Unlikely Theory of Globalization by Franklin Foer

GREAT book! Similar to The World is Flat by Thomas Friedman, but with soccer.  Very readable book about a topic this isn’t always enjoyable reading.

3-Knowing Christ Today by Dallas Willard

As thick as Divine Conspiracy, yet to be determined if as good…so far pretty good

4-Reality Check by Guy Kawasaki

Very practical…not all transferable to church world, but a lot is

5-Love and Respect by Emerson Eggerichs

MUST READ for all married couples

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Is It Wrong to Kill a Doc Who Does Late Term Abortions?

The above probably seems like an odd question to some, but I keep running across alot of opinions about abortion, and how to interact with those who provide them

Sometimes as I write this blog I do so to inform, get a laugh, or to connect…

other times is in hopes of a good conversation stemming from intentional thought

Thinking, not reacting

Abortion is a topic that incites reaction.  It is emotional…painful…theological…political…personal

Because of this, the question I pose above may at first seem obvious to some

In the name of justice or freedom, decency or morality, you might have formed an opinion…reacting

We unfortunatley live in a world where most of us know someone who has had an abortion or has been affected by one

I feel like the church must be very thoughtful about these types of issues.  The thought must stem from a deeply theological place.  A place where God’s heart, chracter, and will dictate who we are and what we believe.

No matter what side of the issue you stand on, most agree abortion is a horrible thing.  If you disagree you are an idiot.  I spend several months doing counseling at a pregnancy center a few years ago. It was heart breaking.  When a fifteen year old comes in intending to get her third abortion from a pregnancy with a 16 year old sophomore something has gone very wrong a long time ago.  To sit and listen to the story of these lives creates the feeling of someone tying a rock to your back and then sitting on your chest.

Abortion is easy in a church sanctuary, or congressional hall.  Unfortunately this is where most of our policies are formed.  Abortion is horribly hard when you are sitting across from a 17 year old boy who dropped out of high school and with tears streaming down his face explains that he has no idea what he is going to do, and has no father around to teach him how to be a daddy.

Let me be clear.  I consider myself pro-life.  I believe God has a plan for the person forming in the womb of a mother.  But let me be equally clear.  I think abortion is a profoundly complicated issue.  More complicated than many ascribe.  The victims of abortion are many, and sometimes the baby is not the only one who is defenseless.

I want to link to a post that I found incredibly interesting…

It is written  Penelop Trunk. She is a successful business women who posted about the two abortions she chose.  I found the post incredibly courageous in light of the vulnerability in created for her.  To date there are 482 comments on the post…equally interesting, although some were just plain stupid.  I commented, identifying myself as a pro life pastor, and offering my thanks for her courage in the post.  She emailed me to thank me for the post and said she often gets pastors commenting anonymously giving her a piece of their mind and what I can only assume they believe to be true.  It broke my heart to think that pastors saw fit to anonymously offer scorn…it is cowardly.  The post created in me an understanding that this issue will require a great deal of courage to address.  Courage is something the church should have in great measure.

To answer my title question…YES.  Of course it is wrong.  Are you kidding me?  The man who blew away Dr. Tiller isn’t a hero, he is a murderer.  God doesn’t use redemptive violence. He uses the gospel to redeem!! I recently read an article that was linked in a blog about the last remaining, well known abortionist in our country.  His name is Warren Hern and he rides around with three US marshals in bullet proof cars.  Those he needs protection from are in large part people who claim Jesus as their Savior.  People who claim to be saved by the grace of God when they were vile, depraved, and wicked.  People who claim the love of Jesus was greater than their sin and redeemed them from it.  These people are reacting, and in their reaction they feel justified in their joy that a man saw fit to make himself the judge of another and put a bullet in his head.  If they were to stop and think they would see the great and jaded hypocrisy of their faith.  Grace is not fair, it is scandalous in the most violent and mind bending kind of way.  Have the courage to to show it

Grace and Peace-TD

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Our New Executive Pastor…

Check out this interview of the new Executive Pastor at The Bridge, Jeff Flowers being interviewed about church planting

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“I Got Bored with Relevance and Just Wanted Truth”

…A first time visitor to The Bridge made this statement to me following our gathering this Sunday

It struck me that she made a distinction between truth and relevance.

She was a very engaging, obviously intelligent women, and she has come to understand what the church has been selling for some time: truth and relevance are different.

How did we get to the place where a relevant church was not a church that stood on and preached strong Bible?

I was thrilled she was at our community, and thrilled she enjoyed it, but I hated the experience she had with church.  She has attended a huge local church before spending some time in Seattle, and attending Mars Hill, and coming to see a difference she had been feeling for some time.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not drinking the haterade…I have no beef with mega churches, or even with seeker sensitive churches.  I think to a large degree they serve a purpose within the universal church by more effectively attracting the unchurched and dechurched.

At the same time, if I have heard it once I have heard it a thousand times…”I just felt like I graduated”…”I just needed more”…”something was missing”…

How are we as a community going to correct the misconception that truth IS the most relevant thing we can provide someone.  The two are not different…and if it is not founded in truth, no matter has slick, flashy, or cutting edge…IT ISN”T RELEVANT!

Are we to simply come to see different churches serving different purposes?

Are “relevant” churches in need of a truth makeover?

Are “truth” churches in need of a relevance makeover?

What has been your experience?  What are your thoughts?

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Should Church Buildings Be Better?

iile de la cite

I came across an article today highlighting some of the most creative buildings in the world…

There was a gas station covered with crochet, an office building that used light reflection to make it appear confetti was flying out of the window, and a building that had huge tentacles coming out of the windows. You couldn’t have missed any of these buildings because of their profound creativity…and you wouldn’t have wanted to.

I remember coming across an NT Wright article some time ago in which he was lamenting the lack of creativity in our church buildings.  His case was that the older generations of building were intended to, and largely accomplished an almost worshipful presentation to God by displaying creativity and art from the church.  He felt (as I do) that the church was to be a leader in the arts, and that our buildings were to clearly express our intent to offer God (and the surrounding community) our very best artistic effort. (in this case through architecture)

The counter argument is obviously that the church is not brick and mortar, but flesh and blood.  Investing in and creating an ediface of beauty and value may communicate, albeit inadvertantly, a “come to us”, “come to church” inward focus.  It would obviously take a great deal of effort and money, all of which could be used to serve and reach your context and community.

What do you think?

Should the church work to present more creativity and beauty in its architecture?

Or should we opt of of the building projects, simply find a suitable space, and use the remaining assets to serve and reach?

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If you are getting married soon…

I have a couple of weddings coming up that I will be officiating…

If I could humbly, but vehemently suggest that you choose to format the ceremony with this beginning I think it will provide a memorable experience for all

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The HUGE Announcement @ The Bridge

There is ALOT of back story, with alot of intersections, and alot of profound timing, but in the name of avoiding a blovel, I will just hit the high points…

God has been so gracious to The Bridge in our move to Clifton.  We have seen changed hearts and lives, a continual affirmation that the step was one toward health in our community, and a continued redemption of the history of our church.

In all of the good, I have continued to feel restless…

For many churches, to replant by moving the entire church 25 minutes away would have been a “destination” move.  To be honest, immediately following the move, I felt like it was a destination move.

As the months have gone by I have been able to identify my restlessness…it is very simply that our move to Clifton was nothing more than a step.  It wasn’t a destination.  I wasn’t the biggest move we will make.  And if it is, we are doomed.

That said, The Bridge has decided to make 4 large decisions as next steps in our journey:

1.  We have hired Jeff Flowers as our Executive Pastor

2.  We have hired Alan Oliver as our Discipleship Pastor

3.  We plan on launching 2 new sites over the next 2 years…one will be on the west side of Cincinnati, and the other with either be in Northside, or near Xavier University.

4.  We are looking for partners: financial and prayer (and ALOT of both)

If you are interested in partnering with us in any way, shape, or form, please comment below and I will follow up with you

These are enormous steps in the continuing story of The Bridge…steps that we take trusting God’s goodness and grace will direct us

Grace and Peace – Pastor Tim

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