Saturday, March 31, 2007

March Blogger Awards

66 BBC'ers blogged at some point in March, but I don't know if that's higher or lower than usual. Below you will find 7 of the posts that I enjoyed the most. I remind you, once again, that my opinion is super important.

And for the 1st time ever, I've gotta give the monthly award the same person as the month prior. The award for best Blogger during the month of March goes to:

January: Elizabeth S
February: Kirk P
March: Kirk P

Friday, March 30, 2007


Alright, enough people have been IM'ing me about the ***'s that I suppose I will make a blanket reply, against my wishes. As per request, I have changed the blogroller setting from "alphabetical" to "most recently updated." Frankly, I've always preferred this system since I'm extremely lazy and it eliminates scrolling down. Furthermore, I feel it heaps burning coals on sloggers.

The downside, of course, is that it's harder to find a name of a person who hasn't updated lately (but why would you want to?). Also, some people still aren't recognized by blogroller or haven't changed their settings, so they'll be trapped at the bottom. (by the way, if you hold your mouse over a name, it should tell you when they last updated. Everyone got ***'s on January 20th, so only people who updated since then are above "Aaron H" on the list).

Feel free to applaud or argue about the new system and I will take your comments under consideration.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

#2 The Name Game

Blog Commandment #2
Thou Shalt Win the Name Game
A great name can bring fame to your blog. Can your blog survive without an awesome title? Sure. Can it thrive? Not likely. One's actual name (ie. Matthew Rose) can take most of us only so far. A famous person (like Will Wheaton and Michelle Malkin) can get away with naming their blog after their name, but you and I can't. Instead, we must come up with a great title.

So what does a great blog title look like? Wrong question. The right question is, "what does a great blog title do?" And the answer is, a great blog title CATCHES and CONVEYS. It catches the attention of your reader and conveys the purpose of your blog. Take my title as an example. Toward the former, it utilizes alliteration, rhyme & a play on words to catch your attention. Toward the latter, it conveys the reality that (because of my introverted personality) most of my readers were never able to get to know the real Matthew until my blog came around.

Here are the top 3 BBC blog titles:
Kayla's "Momologue" Good play on words, accurately describes her site
"Sarah's Zona" Very memorable and highly personalized
Liz's "A Bowl of Stew(art)" Whoever thought of that is genius

Have you thought through your blog's title?

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Idol #10

It's Wednesday again and I just finished fast-forwarding through American Idol. Sort of a boring episode in that there were no amazing or brutal performances. Nevertheless, here's my review:

Weekly Awards
Best Performance:
Phil Stacey
Worst Performance:
Chris Sligh

Overall Standings
Top 3: Melinda (49) Jordin (47) Lakisha (46)
Low 3: Chris S (38) Haley (36) Sanjaya (24)
*Parenthesis show points I've awarded to each singer

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

I Murder Frogs

I am a murderer. I murder frogs. I don't mean to. I don't want to. But, at times, it's unavoidable. I don't know if it's like this across the continent, but in my town frogs love hopping across roads. If it's a rainy day, I'll see anywhere from 10-100 kamikaze frogs on my 12 minute drive home from church. Needless to say, I can't dodge them all. I feel bad.

I deserve the guilty feelings. To be honest, I have a history of torturing frogs. I remember many years ago, during Houghton Family Camp, playing a game involving frogs. The challenge was to catch a frog, run up to the top floor of the dorm, throw the frog out the window, and then run down the stairs fast enough to catch it again for Round 2. I feel really bad.

I'm sorry about my past. I don't remember if I ever dissected a frog in school, but if I did I'm sorry about that too. Truth be told, I like frogs. I used to have a thick picture book filled with tons of animals. My favorite pages were the frog pages. I especially appreciated one frog that looked just like a big juicy burger. Hmmm. I feel really really bad.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Travel Plans

I've never planned a vacation before. It is hard work. I didn't really care to take a vacation, but by the time I finish planning this thing I'll need one. I just wish I could be transported to where I want to go like on Star Trek rather than spend hours and hours in a car by myself or hundreds of dollars on a plane ticket. Then, I want to see as many fun people as possible. So far I have potential stops in Syracuse (NY), Bucksport (Maine), Sussex (NB), Kentville (NS) & Digby (NS). But it is really hard trying to create a schedule that makes sense. The church is going to owe me big time for forcing me to do this!

Friday, March 23, 2007

Darwin on Trial

I am finishing up a 2nd reading of Philip E. Johnson's "Darwin on Trial." I read it quite a few years ago, but not very thoroughly. This time I understood a lot more of the elaborate vocabulary. It's a fairly unique book. It's really an examination of the leaps in logic and fallacies committed by darwinian theorists. It's even-handed in that it isn't saying the theory is impossible, only that it isn't being demonstrated by the evidence. I enjoy reading books by people that come from different perspectives that I do. Johnson is part of the Intelligent Design Movement whereas I am still most convinced, surprisingly to some, by Young Earth Creationism. Nevertheless, I am content to be in the minority when my best thinking leads me that direction (partial preterism, amillennialism, young earth creationism, etc). Good read.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

10 Laws of Blogging

I recently had the following conversation:*

Person: Hey, I read your blog, it's great!
Me: Are you saying I should write a book about blogging?
Person: What? I just mean your blog...
Me: Oh, so I should just Blog the Book? You cheapo!
Person: Hey, just forget I said anything, jerk
Me: How bout I just forget you in general (person)

So by popular demand, for the next 10 Thursday's I will be blogging a book.** Each week you can read a very concise chapter. It will closely model the 10 Commandments, except, you know, it'll be about blogging

*The conversation that follows didn't actually happen
**I may get bored with the idea before next Thursday

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Idol #11

Well, I guess they vote people off each Wednesday instead of Thursday's, but the dreaded 'Idol' posts will continue either way:

Weekly Awards...
Best Performance:
Jordin Sparks
Worst Performance:
Sanjaya Malakar

Overall Standings...
Top 3: Melinda (41), Lakisha (39), Jordin (39)
Low 3: Gina (32), Haley (30), Sanjaya (18)
*Parenthesis show points I've awarded to each singer

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Trips I'd Love

For the past 4 years I've enjoyed 'Houghton Family Camp,' but I've never taken a personal vacation. The Local Church Board, however, is basically forcing me to leave so I will be taking a trip after Easter Sunday to visit friends in Syracuse, Maine, New Brunswick & Nova Scotia. But this got to thinking about dream vacations. Here are 5 trips I'd love:

1. Space - I'd love to visit space. I want to look at the earth from a ship. I want to walk on the Moon or Mars. I'd settle for the 'Total Recall' virtual vacation I suppose, but I'd prefer the real thing. I'd like to be the captain of a starship also, but I suppose that fits better with yesterday's post.

2. Train - I really want to do a train trip. I don't care where I go so much as I care that I go there on a train. I want it to be one of those trains where my friends and I have a private room or whatever. I want to cross canyons on a train-bridge and whatnot. I want to stop in a small city and hop out for a few hours.

3. Australia - I want to meet girls that talk like Claire from the show Lost. I want to see a Kangaroo. I'd love to meet a Kangaroo that talks like Claire from the show Lost, but that'll prolly never happen. I just really like most everything I hear about Australian culture.

4. Minnesota - I'd really like to see the biggest ball of twine that Minnesota has to offer. Either that or Albuquerque.

5. Any Hotel - For the most part, I don't really care about specific destinations for a vacation. A place is as fun as the people you're there with. I'd just love to be able to drive around North America for a month with a bunch of friends. No agenda. No financial restraints. We'd just go where the wind took us and find a place to sleep when we felt like it.

Where would you love to go?

Monday, March 19, 2007

Jobs I'd Love

I love being a full-time pastor. I really do. Teaching the Bible is my absolute favorite thing to do. Plus, I get lots of cookies from congregants. But if I weren't in ministry, what other jobs could make me happy? Here are 5 jobs I'd love:

1) Hockey Announcer - When I was a kid, I really wanted to be Rick Jeanneret. Well, not him specifically, but his successor. I dreamed that he'd retire from announcing Sabres games right as I graduated from hockey announcer college (wherever that is). He's still not retired, so the dream is alive!

2) Con Artist - In all 'honesty,' I'd really love to be a full-time Con-Artist. I love tricking people. I love pretending to be hurt. I love improv. I love Con-Artist movies like Opportunity Knocks, Bandits, Oceans 11 & Heartbreakers. But I'd have to leave the ministry to have this dream come true (or switch to televangelism and kill 2 birds with 1 stone).

3) Bible College Professor - I would love to teach at a Bible College. I may look to do that very thing if I ever retire from pastoral ministry. I'd look for creative ways to not only teach effectively but make an impact on each student.

4) Parodoctor - This is the word I made up because I didn't know the word 'parodist.' Even still, I'd love to have the talent and time to be like Weird Al. I am hoping, in the next couple of years, to write at least a few decent parodies in addition to my eHarmony song.

5) City Planner - I used to play SimCity2000 all the time! I'd love to design an entire city and then destroy it and start over. I'd use cheat-codes so money wouldn't be an issue. I especially like designing transit systems. My city would lead the nation in ease of travel.

What jobs would you love?

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Once Upon a Time

In the year 385 a boy was born in a far corner of the Roman Empire. When he was 16 years old his town was raided and he was taken into slavery. While captive, he converted from Paganism to Christianity. After 6 years he escaped to join and study at a monastary where he remained for a dozen years. During this time he sensed a call from God to evangelize pagans near the place of his birth. But just as the door opened, it closed; someone else was sent. 2 years late, though, the door opened again, and this time he was able to walk through. His successes brought persecution, but he persisted and spent the next 30 years establishing monastaries, schools & churches throughout the land. He died on March 17th at the age of 76. His life had impacted so many lives that the day of his death became a day of commemoration. Today, people celebrate the day with parades, wearing green, and drinking beer. (Summarized from Wikipedia)

Friday, March 16, 2007

Facing the Giants

Tonight my men's group watched the movie 'Facing the Giants.' I was a bit skeptical at first for a few reasons. The opening credits seemed really long. The acting early in the movie was a bit suspect. And the lines seemed a little too canned. But my skepticism didn't last long as this movie seemed to get better and better as I watched.

From what I'm told, this movie was made by a local church. They did a nice job of creating an entertaining movie with a strongly stated Christian message. I reckon it'll make many cry (though I held my ground) and inspire others. It's a feel good story that is boldly Christian. I'm going to give it an 8 because I 'must own' it for future ministry movie nights.

Rating: 8.0
Status: Must Own

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Idol #12

I don't know how many of you watch American Idol. I'm sure some of you do and I'm sure some of you hate it. I watch it in my sleeplessness and with the fast-forward button in hand. I most enjoy rating the performances and ranking the participants. For the next 12 Thursday's I'll give my opinion of who shined brightest and who should be voted out.

Weekly Awards...
Best Performance:
Melinda Doolittle
Worst Performance:
Sanjaya Malakar

Overall Awards...
Top 3: Melinda (33), Lakisha (33), Jordin (30)
Could be Gone: Brandon (22), Haley (22) Sanjaya (15)
*Parenthesis show points I've awarded to each singer

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Jehovah Rapha

In between the extremes of the 'faith' teachers and the 'cessationists' are the majority of Christians who believe that healing is an occassional and miraculous work of God. That God occassionally does heal miraculously is evidenced by a multitude of anecdotal evidence in both Old and New Testaments. That God occassionally does not heal miraculously is evidenced, Scripturally, in the very same way in that many believers were NOT healed instantly of illness: Elisha, Job, Paul, Timothy & Trophimus.

Those overly influenced by the faith teachers fail to recognize the value of pain. God allows sickness and sees a purpose in it. Scripture is clear that in this present age we groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. Physical healing is not guaranteed in the here and now, but it is guaranteed in the then and there.

Those overly influenced by the cessationists fail to recognize the present availability of God. The early church, though they observed that miraculous healing was more usually employed as a sign to non-believers, believed that God was still a God of miracles. Hoping for a miracle is a legitimate option for a sick Christian.

James 5:14-16
Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.

Now, I think it is possible to take this passage too far. James may have been purposefully vague by choosing 'save' instead of 'heal' the sick. And the phrase "the Lord will raise him up" makes most think of the resurrection, where all believers will be physically healed. Still further, the surrounding context is 'spiritual' moreso than 'physical' in nature and 'may' may leave more room for varrying possibilities than 'will' would have. All that being said, why don't we hear more sick Christians calling for the elders? Why don't we see more elders volunteering to pray for and annoint the sick with oil?

I pray that the Lord will lead me in the proper balance on these issues.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

No Mo Healing

On the opposite end of the pendulum from the 'on demand' crowd are the cessationists. A cessationist is one who believes that the miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit were a temporary phenomenon; that such miracles are no longer part of God's activity in the world.

Why not?

Most cessationists think miracles were part of capital 'A' Apostolic ministry which ceased with the death of the last 'foundational' member of the church. Such miracles were confirmation of what God was doing, but were never intended to continue throughout church-history (and, they would argue, obviously didn't). Some cessationists even make use of the great 'love' chapter where it says that prophecies and tongues will cease.

Of course, cessationists have more than just a few verses to base their doctrine on. They point out that numerous writers in the early church said some cessationistic sounding things. They attempt to employ Clement of Rome, Justin Martyr, Origen, Chrysostum & Augustine for their cause, though most of the quotes refer specifically to the cessation of the gift of tongues moreso than healing.

Perhaps the main argument of the cessationists is common Christian experience. They would claim that most Christians can't pin-point a clear-cut healing miracle, and that the one's who claim they can are usually involved in some suspiciously over-charismatic group.

Just like I agree with the 'on demand' crowd to the degree that SOME people don't experience healing due to lack of faith, I also agree with the cessationists to the degree that I don't think God intends for miraculous healing to be as common today as it was during the ministry of Jesus and the Apostles. God does, in fact, seem to send miracles in bunches to accompany His more important spritual work (Matthew 9:1-8).

That being said, I disagree with a hardcore cessationist because the few verses they do point to don't really make their point. The love chapter says, to me, that the 'sign' gifts may cease in eternity, not that they ceased in the 1st century. Hebrews and Ephesians do indeed recognize the confirming and foundational aspect of 1st century miracles, but make no case for their cessation. The quoting of early church fathers doesn't persuade me since many other quotes can be found that support miraculous healing throughout church history. As for experience, I think miracles are rare. Otherwise we wouldn't call them miracles. But rare and non-existent are two different things. Luther, Calvin & John MacArthur can rightly be called cessationists, but they all believe(d) there are exceptions to the rule.

I believe that, in general, God does miracles to confirm spiritual progress being made. Thus, I believe that the miraculous gifts are more common in evangelistic efforts than in discipleship settings. And the reason isn't a lack of faith on the part of the already saved (at least not usually), but simply that the message has already been confirmed there.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Healing on Demand

The following quotes show that some 'Christians' believe physical healing is provided for through the atonement:

Ken Copeland
The basic principle of the Christian life is to know that God put our sin, sickness, disease, sorrow, grief, and poverty on Jesus at Calvary
Benny Hinn God is not going to heal you now—He healed you 2,000 years ago. All you have to do is receive the healing by faith…there will be no sickness for the saint of God…not a headache, sinus problem, not even a toothache—nothing
Jerry Savelle When the Devil tries to put a symptom of sickness or disease on my body, I absolutely refuse to accept it…I’m healed by the stripes of Jesus
Ken Hagin A person seeking healing should look to God’s Word, not to his symptoms. He should say, ‘I know that I am healed because the Word says that by His stripes I am healed.”

Both from these quotes and general observance, we learn that the basis for this doctrine is a particular understanding of Isaiah 53:5. In this verse, some say they find the teaching that physical healing was purchased at the cross and is, therefore, available to us 24/7 by faith. Let's take a closer look:

But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was upon him,
and by his wounds we are healed.

We must first observe that these are Hebrew couplets. The first two lines have identical meaning (Jesus suffered for our sins). In my opinion, lines three and four have identical meaning as well (His suffering restores us to God). Those who believe the word 'healed' refers to physical healing have missed the context of Isaiah and the prophets as a whole. The focus is 'spiritual' healing. God wants to:

Bind up the brokenhearted
Cure you of backsliding
Heal their waywardness

Those are not medical conditions. They are spiritual conditions. 'By his wounds we are healed' is simply another way of saying that through his punishment we have peace. Since the cross is a fact of history, spiritual healing is available 24/7 through faith. But this verse contains no such promise regarding physical healing.

What's more, Peter practically quotes Isaiah 53:5 in the following way: He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. For you were like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls." Peter was addressing this to slaves who may have had fresh (physical) wounds from their masters. And yet, he still suggests that they've accessed the promise of 53:5 in that they have returned to the shepherd (spiritually)!

24/7 physical healing is not provided for by the atonement. If it were, then the quoted men above would be right when they blame a lack of healing on a lack of faith. But since it is this teaching, not necessarily the faith of the sick, that is deficient, many who have been left feeling like faithless failures are potentially vindicated. Each time this false teaching seeps into our understanding of God, it results in feelings of failure (either we are failing in faith or God is failing to fulfill His promise). But this is unncessary since God simply didn't promise to physically heal on demand.

If the above arguments are true, then we have removed the condemnation from the still-sick members of Christ's body. Nevertheless, they are still sick. Not being obligated by the work of Christ on the cross, we must wonder if God still in the business of miraculous physical healing? That's the question for tomorrow when we look at the doctrine of cessationism.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

3 Views of Divine Healing

Tonight we discussed the subject of physical healing for about an hour and ten minutes. Our key passages were Isaiah 53:4-5 and James 5:14-16. As per usual, I taught by sharing the most notable positions that Christians have taken on the issue at hand:

Healing is...
1. Available 'on demand' by faith through the atonement
2. Occassional, by faith, as an 'exception to the rule' by God's will
3. Healing is a miraculous gift which 'ceased' with the Apostles

Over the next few days I will drive away my readership by analyzing each of these positions

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Top 10 Goalies

I find it quite difficult to rank the top 10 NHL goalies. There are so many factors to consider. I'll admit that I consider save % the most telling statistic, but I also value playoff performance. That being said, here's my list for the current top 10 NHL goalies:

Friday, March 09, 2007

No i in Church

I'm a regular reader of Keith Drury's 'Tuesday Column' and have read a couple of his past books (holiness for ordinary people, wonder of worship). "There is No I in Church" was the best book I've read from him so far. The book is simple and straight-forward, yet has the capacity to provoke powerful and effective returns. It will probably turn out to be one of the most impacting ministry resources on my shelf (and quite regularly, in my hands).

Drury's opening chapter sets the stage well, proving the biblical theme that God is most interested in community. He boldly states that those who reject the church cannot be considered Christian; that if you won't join the bride, you can't marry the groom. He then launches into the task at hand, the corporate disciplines that sanctify the bride. I'll provide some interesting quotes from each chapter:

Koinonia: It may be flawed, but the body of Christ is the best thing God has going on earth. In fact, it's the only thing.
Corporate Prayer: Why do we carefully prepare sermons and songs yet casually improvise what we say to God in prayer?
Scripture: While we protestants like to place our Bible's in a position of authority above that of the church, we have to admit that books of the Bible themselves owe their authority to the church, which selected them.
Moving of God: We expect little from God, and that is exactly what we get.
Testimony: Without doubt, professional ministers take a risk when they turn over the microphone to the laity. Yet we take an even greater risk, when we prevent lay people from reporting what God has done in their lives recently.
Lord's Supper: Many churches have found power in restoring the full meal in association with communion.
Conversion and Baptism: When people try to follow Jesus in secret, one of two things eventually happens. Either their following of Jesus eliminates their secrecy, or their secrecy eliminates their following of Christ.

Thursday, March 08, 2007


Many of you have probably heard the illustration of the rail-bridge operator. Faced with the decision of whether to save his own child or all the people on-board an on-coming train, a father chooses to save the many instead of the one. Unfortunately, most of those on the train don't ever learn of the great sacrifice that was made on their behalf.

Now, that illustration is available in a foreign short film entitled 'Most.' This 33 minute illustration packs a lot of punch. It illustrates the sacrifice of Christ and our general indifference quite well. Some will see it as a negative that it's a foreign (and therefore subtitled) film, but I think that adds to the affect since it forces careful attention.

Rating: 7.0
Status: Must See

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Pride & Prejudice

As many of you know, I'm not a reader of fiction. I have never read Jane Austen's book. I had no idea what the basic storyline was until last night when I watched the 2005 version. I liked it for a number of reasons. First, the dialogue was a welcome contrast from the typical movie. Second, Keira Knightley was not only beautiful, but her performance was very impressive I thought. Finally, the storyline was adequate. I was somewhat surprised it wasn't an even better storyline, but the eloquent script made up for than and then some. I'd be glad to see it again sometime.

Rating: 7.0
Status: Must See

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Gilmore Girls 18

We've made it to the final match-up of the 2nd Round. So far in Round 2, you've voted Lorelei, Richard, and Mrs. Kim off the show. This weeks vote features a married couple & Michel. Remember, vote FOR (+1) one character and AGAINST (-1) one character. And feel free to comment on the episode once you watch it.


Sunday, March 04, 2007

Final Statistics

To end this statistical tirade I will post the rest of the results
We surveyed
114 teens at the 30 Hour Famine...

Bible Statistics
35 knew that the Bible contains 66 books
25 knew there are 39 books in the O.T.
28 knew there were 27 books in the N.T.
34 knew Malachi is the last book of the O.T.
70 knew Revelation is the last book of the NT
Analysis: I found these numbers acceptable

Teens and the Ten Commandments
(They were asked to fill in blanks)
99 knew the first commandment
74 knew the third commandment
(18 put "don't misuse God's WORD)
104 knew the fourth commandment
22 knew the eighth commandment
(29 guess 'murder,' 17 said 'sin')
Analysis: For the most part, they seemed to know the commandments, just not in the right order.

The Name Game
(asked to name 3 in each category)
1. People in Genesis: 55% of blanks correct
2. People who knew Moses: 33%
3. Old Testament Kings: 38%
4. Old Testmanet Prophets: 16%
5. New Testament Apostles: 28%
6. New Testament Authors: 53%
7. The Trinity: 55%
Analysis: They didn't do very well on this section considering there were so many names to choose from in most categories. Especially surprising is the fact that so many teams couldn't name 1 prophet and only slightly more than half of the teens can identify the members of the Trinity.

What did Jesus Say?
(asked to fill in BLANKS of a quote)
25% From that time on Jesus began to preach, "Repent, for the KINGDOM of heaven is near.”
24% You are the SALT of the earth...You are the LIGHT of the world
53% “But I tell you: Love your ENEMIES and pray for those who persecute you”
09% “Not everyone who says to me, ’LORD, LORD,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father”
78% "For God so LOVED the world that he gave his one and only SON, that whoever BELIEVES in him shall not perish but have ETERNAL life.”
Analysis: This is the portion of the quiz I am most interested in addressing. The majority of teens, outside of John 3:16, were quite unfamiliar with some of the most famous words of Jesus.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

114 Teens

Today I want to share with you the results of the Bible Knowledge Test I gave to 114 teens at the 30 Hour Famine last weekend. The multiple choice section was simply 10 questions on some of the most essential christian doctrines. The red numbers beside the answers represents the number of students who selected that answer.

Circle the BEST answer

How did life on earth begin?
a) Random chance 0
b) Life was brought here by aliens 2
c) God created life 111

Analysis: Despite creationism being kept out of the classroom to a large extent, teens don't buy the idea that life just showed up. That God created life is a well accepted reality among teenagers that participate in the 30 Hour Famine.

Which traits best describe God?
a) Immortal, invisible, loving 99
b) Powerful, smart, physical 14
c) Old, intelligent, distant 1

Analysis: I was actually quite pleased with the high percentage of correct answers to this question. I am not sure the adults would do any better than that. It seems the great nature of God is fairly well established among church teens.

Jesus is unique because…
a) He was a great moral teacher 1
b) He is the Son of God 111
c) He was a great prophet 2

Analysis: Once again, not much to worry about here. Churchy teens know what makes Christ unique compared to all others.

Why did Jesus die?
a) As a sacrifice for our sins 112
b) Romans wanted him killed 0
c) To make a point 2

Analysis: Another impressively sized majority, especially since all 3 choices are legitimately correct to some degree.

Where is Jesus now?
a) Dead, but we follow His example 10
b) Alive, somewhere on earth 0
c) Alive, went up to His Father 103

Analysis: Now this one is a little surprising. Could it be that nearly 10% of churchy teens think Jesus is still dead? The resurrection is central to Christianity! Perhaps they think Jesus is still dead because there's no evidence of life in his body (the church)?

Is Jesus coming back?
a) No, life will go on as normal 14
b) Yes, in the next 40 years 3
c) Yes, but we don’t know when 97

Analysis: I was pleasently surprised that more teens didn't select choice 'b' in light of all the eschatological propaganda floating around these days.

The Great Commandment is…
a) Stop sinning 10
b) Tell other people about Jesus 27
c) Love the Lord completely 74

Analysis: Am I a stickler for thinking teens should know the difference between the Great Commandment and Great Commission? I don't think so. Perhaps those who chose 'a' come from more legalistic background and those who chose 'b' have evangelism stressed to them almost too much (since they picked the great commission for this question and the next). In my humble opinion, I think there may be too much emphasis on evangelism in youth ministry at the expense of discipling the teens present.

The Great Commission is…
a) Get everyone to act like me! 5
b) Make others pray ‘the prayer’ 38
c) Go and make disciples 67

Analysis: Again, I think there is too much emphasis being placed on telling people you love Jesus and getting people 'saved' without emphasizing the importance of investing in the lives of those around you.

How are we saved?
a) By grace through faith 84
b) By faith through works 14
c) By works through grace 14

Analysis: I think the fact that we don't get saved by works is emphasized plenty, so I'm sorta surprised that 14 chose 'c' and that 'c' was equal to 'b'

Faith without works is…
a) Incomplete 65
b) Dead 35
c) Holy 8

Analysis: Okay, I was really surprised about this one. I figured most churchy teens would be familiar with the famous biblical phrase 'faith without works is dead.' My guess is that the disdain of the teenage generation for absolute sounding statements ruled the day. Now why did 8 pick 'c' ? Well, my guess is they saw the word 'faith' and saw the word 'holy' and figured they belonged together.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Multiple Choice

Recently, I gave a 'Bible Knowledge Quiz' that I created to 114 teenagers attending the 30 Hour Famine. Over the next several days I will be discussing the results. First, I want to share with you the multiple choice portion of the test. Your job is to critique the wording of my questions and to guess which answers the teens struggled with most. Tomorrow I will share, with you, the results.

Circle the BEST answer

How did life on earth begin?
a) Random chance
b) Life was brought here by aliens
c) God created life

Which traits best describe God?
a) Immortal, invisible, loving
b) Powerful, smart, physical
c) Old, intelligent, distant

Jesus is unique because…
a) He was a great moral teacher
b) He is the Son of God
c) He was a great prophet

Why did Jesus die?
a) As a sacrifice for our sins
b) Romans wanted him killed
c) To make a point

Where is Jesus now?
a) Dead, but we follow His example
b) Alive, somewhere on earth
c) Alive, went up to His Father

Is Jesus coming back?
a) No, life will go on as normal
b) Yes, in the next 40 years
c) Yes, but we don’t know when

The Great Commandment is…
a) Stop sinning
b) Tell other people about Jesus
c) Love the Lord completely

The Great Commission is…
a) Get everyone to act like me!
b) Make others pray ‘the prayer’
c) Go and make disciples

How are we saved?
a) By grace through faith
b) By faith through works
c) By works through grace

Faith without works is…
a) Incomplete
b) Dead
c) Holy

Thursday, March 01, 2007

eHarmony Parody

I have written and directed my first music video. Since I've been listening to a lot of Weird Al, it is a parody. This particular parody is about to the tune of Tender Tennessee Christmas. Click HERE to hear & view it.

For more on online dating, click HERE