Sunday, December 27, 2009

Digital Fasting

An interesting article that appeared in the Birmingham News yesterday (although it appears to have been first published by its author in October.) As discussed below, fasting is not always about food...

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Sunday, September 13, 2009


Remember, we are all ambassadors for the Lord. We were given the authority and responsibility by Jesus Christ in the "great commission."

The big question, of course, is how do we each execute our duties as Christ-appointed ambassadors? Singing? Talking? Simply letting our light shine?

Join me in praying that He will use each of us as ambassadors in every aspect of our lives. Pray that he will embolden each of us to shine our lights into the darkness of secularization, to boldly proclaim the message of truth at times that it is not comfortable or easy to talk about God, and to illuminate the path for our society just as He lights the paths of our lives. Pray that we will each favor action over inaction and haste over procrastination.

Edit: Just found this book. Anybody read it?

Saturday, August 29, 2009


Something we don't often consider in our modern society. Is there a role for fasting in your spiritual walk? I think the scripture would say that there is. But remember, fasting is not only about food. The most important thing is that a fast is between you and the Lord. It is never something done out of ritual, a sense of duty, or for the benefit of others seeing you. Sort of like Fight Club: "The first rule of fasting is that you don't talk about fasting..."

Good discussions on fasting here and here.

Monday, August 24, 2009


A common objection to God’s existence is the existence of evil.
How could there be a God if so much evil in the world?

Tagline to a good article by Greg Kokul at Stand to Reason.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Classroom Needs

Calling All New Light Class Members!

We have been working on our classroom for, well, a couple of years now. We have taken care of many of the major needs (carpet, paint, wall removal, cabinet, etc), but we still have many items we need to finish it off and make it more comfortable and user-friendly.

Here is a list I started for what we need. We'll note the items that are provided so that we don't get multiples. Many of the items would be fine to contribute in Used Condition.
  • Bookcase (for bibles, Books, Past class notes, etc)
  • Christian related books (fiction, non-fiction, bibles, etc) - Mark your name on them and add "New Light Class" to ensure they stay with us.
  • 2 Curtains Rods (width: ## )
  • 4 Curtain Panels to coordinate with Room (height: ##)
  • 2 Single Switch Light Plates
  • TV Stand (nothing fancy)
  • DVD Player
  • Framed pictures of Jesus for Jesus Wall - 2 Provided…Need more!
  • Other Religious/Inspirational art for other walls
  • Ficus Trees or other plants/items to fill blank space
  • Tablecloth for large rectangle table
  • Sponges for cleaning coffee mugs
  • Dish Towels to dry coffee mugs
  • Masonry Drill Bit (to keep in the room)
These items have recently been provided:
  • Large Bulletin Board
  • 8x10 frame for that can be hung up for class picture
  • Blue Masonry Screws (a pack to keep in the room)

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

BPUMC Food Pantry

We had a visitor Sunday Morning explaining the needs and changes going on with the BPUMC Food Pantry. This previously small ministry has grown substantially over the past few months (averaging 1 new family a week). Each Sunday School Class is being asked to supply items for a particular group of items in the pantry.

Our class is being asked to provide Baby Supplies. We will have a basket in our classroom that we can have items dropped in and we can then give those to the pantry.

(I found all of the above at CVS for $1 each.)

Items to need to bring in (on a regular basis, whenever you can):
- Diapers
- Wipes

- Diaper Creams
- Lotions
- Shampoos
- Combs, Brushes, Children Toothbrushes & Toothpaste
- Baby Powder
- Pacis or Teething Rings
- Animal Crackers or other snacks a small child could eat
- Any other items needed in the caring of a baby

- Baby Food

- Formula

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Mission Basket

Emails have been going around, but I wanted to add to the blog as well. The New Light Class will be putting together a basket for the auction they will be having at the Church of the Reconciler in April. This is a Methodist church is downtown Birmingham that serves many homeless people and this is their once a year fundraiser. It also happens to be the church that Lawton Higgs brother and father work with. They need help and we are in such a better place than they are.

So we will be providing a Family Night basket. If everyone can contribute something, it should be pretty full and get them some good money! Ideas: Board Games, DVD's, Cards, Movie Tickets, McWane Center Passes, Popcorn cups or Candy to fill it out...just anything that a family could do together.

We will be collecting the items for the next 3 weeks (End it on April 11). So try to get your items in by then.

This is an easy way for our class to provide help to those who need it. I look forward to seeing what we create!

Their Church Website:

Thanks everyone,

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Jesus Wears Combat Boots

Last week, during our snow day, we discussed Hebrews 2:5-18 and 4:14-16, specifically the parts where Jesus experienced every form of temptation when he was on earth. In doing so, he has experienced every kind of temptation that we are facing. When we call out to him in our darkest moments, he answers us with experience and authority--not just because he is omniscient and omnipotent, but because he knows exactly what it feels like to be us...

In this respect, Jesus is sort like a "mustang" military officer who is more effective and better able to relate to his enlisted troops by drawing on his own experiences as an enlisted man. Just as a platoon of Marines have faith following their commander into battle when they know that he has already been there and vanquished the same enemy before, we have faith and trust in Christ to see us through our trial because he has already won these battles himself.

Here's the picture I was going to use:

Anna made me change it...

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Who wants some Oprah-Ohs?

This past Sunday, we discussed Oprah Winfrey and her incredible influence over the spiritual lives of many Americans.

The concern about Oprah is that, despite her biblical namesake and baptist upbringing, she has embraced eastern philosophy and pantheism in her later life. Although she rarely espouses these philosophies herself, she frequently endorses and publicizes those who do. Those she endorses often enjoy tremendous success:

In my view, the most dangerous thing about Oprah's spiritual "self-help" kick is that neither she, nor her guests (like Eckhart Tolle), are forthcoming about the underlying theology of their ideas. In this respect, they are wolves that do not come dressed as wolves. As Ravi Zacharias might describe it, they are "foreign birds with a local walk."

Bear in mind, I am not trying to attack Oprah as a person or deny that she has done many wonderful things for people in need. However, I do believe she is being cavalier with the well-being of her loyal viewers. From the way that she jumps back and forth between philosophies and theologies, I suspect that she is hungry for truth and seeking answers (perhaps she and Angelina Jole should get together and go bowling sometime) but she is dragging her viewers along as she samples faiths from around the world. Dangerous, to say the least...

Oprah needs our prayers--just as anyone with her level of influence needs our prayers. Let's pray that she finds what she truly is seeking. Only the Lord can fill the God-shaped hole in her heart...

If you want to read more about the Oprah phenomenon, check out Christianity Today and Stand To Reason.

Casting Crowns: "What if His people prayed ... What if the family turned to Jesus, and quit asking Oprah what to do?"

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Jan. 25 Class Notes - Can't Get to Heaven on Roller Skates

Pew Forum On Religion & Public Life / U.S. Religious Landscape Survey
May 8 – August 13, 2007
N=35,556 (# of people sampled)

These survey results contain responses from people with very different beliefs and presumably with different worldviews [link to previous discussion on worldview]. Most pertinent to us, are the figures on protestant Christians. I’m not sure exactly how they defined “Evangelical Christian” and “Mainline Protestant Christian” and I don’t know exactly where we would fall by those unknown definitions. In fact, it is hard to find any consensus definition for “Evangelical Christian”. I think we can all handle the term evangelical as an adjective, as in the dictionary definition of “pertaining to or in keeping with the gospel and its teachings”, but as a separate denomination?

Wikipedia gives us the following -- Evangelicalism: Most adherents consider its key characteristics to be: a belief in the need for personal conversion (or being "born again"); some expression of the gospel in effort; a high regard for Biblical authority; and an emphasis on the death and resurrection of Jesus.

Regardless of how you define Evangelicalism and Mainline Protestant Christianity, the results of the Pew survey are interesting…

Which comes closest to your view of God? God is a person with whom people can have a
relationship or God is an impersonal force?

Survey Results:

“Mainline Protestant”:
Personal – 62%
Impersonal force – 26%
Other/Both/Neither – 4%
Don’t know – 4%


Bible: II Corinthians 6:14-18

Do you believe in life after death?
John 3:16

Do you think there is a heaven, where people who have led good lives are eternally
II Corinthians 5:1

Do you think there is a hell, where people who have led bad lives and die without being
sorry are eternally punished?
2 Peter 2:4-9
Matthew 5:21-22

My religion is the one, true faith leading to eternal life,
Many religions can lead to eternal life
John 6:35 & 14:6

Jan. 18 Class Notes - What Would Jesus Think?

The primary reason that people do not act like Jesus is because they do not think like Jesus. Behavior stems from what we think - our attitudes, beliefs, values and opinions.

Worldview”: That set of central moral beliefs about right & wrong, good & evil, worthy & unworthy, etc… used by an individual person to guide his or her decision making

“Biblical Worldview”: Believing that absolute moral truths exist; that such truth is defined by the Bible; and firm belief in six specific religious views. Those views were that Jesus Christ lived a sinless life; God is the all-powerful and all-knowing Creator of the universe and He stills rules it today; salvation is a gift from God and cannot be earned; Satan is real; a Christian has a responsibility to share their faith in Christ with other people; and the Bible is accurate in all of its teachings.

As Christians, we all profess to follow Jesus, and we should therefore be striving to live like him in every aspect of our lives. However, most of us do not think like Jesus—that is, our worldview is not based on Christ, but on our own definitions of right and wrong, or (worse yet) a societal or media-based definition. If you stop and examine your decision-making process sometime, you may be surprised to see that you think more like a secular humanist or existentialist than like Jesus.

For more on the idea of living with a biblical worldview, check out the Truth Project, a current effort by Focus on the Family

Saturday, January 17, 2009

The Wall of Jesus

For those not in class last week, we decided to turn one of our walls (all 4 being completely bare!) into a wall of creative and unusual pictures of Jesus. Of course, the first submission is the coveted "Chinese Jesus", which has been in our classroom since we began. Unsure if it is actually even Chinese or not, we've nicknamed it that and I have now had it framed.

Yes, yesterday I took that unusual picture to Hobby Lobby and had a guy frame it for me. I had to explain I knew it was odd, not in great condition, but it had meaning behind it.

So be on the lookout - especially when you travel - for unusual pictures of Jesus. Not inappropriate of course, but not the typical portraits we so often see. The Gold's mentioned bring a picture of them in from of "Touchdown Jesus".

I look forward to seeing what we bring together - It will be fun to have this "Wall of Jesus" grow and buildout over the years!