N.T. Wright on Gay Marriage

This is so good:

You can read the transcript of the interview here.

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How You See as a Leader

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How you see as a leader, shapes everything about your leadership. If you think in steps, that’s how you evaluate the effectiveness of a ministry or sermon. If you are highly relational focused on making people feel cared for, this will shape how you see things, how you lead and evaluate things. If you are a big picture, visionary, this will affect your outlook. If you care deeply about doctrine over everything else, that will also affect how you see things. The reality is, though no leader wants to admit this, no way is the “correct” way to see things when it comes to leadership. All perspectives are needed to lead an effective church.

The Old Testament establishes three primary leadership offices for the people of Israel:

  • Prophets: God’s messengers to his people
  • Priests: Mediators who approach God on behalf of his people
  • Kings: Rulers who govern God’s people

In the New Testament, we see that Jesus perfectly fulfills each of these offices. He is our final and authoritative Prophet (John 1:1). He is our Great High Priest (1 Peter 5:4). And he is the conquering King of kings (1 Timothy 6:15).

The prophet is the Bible guy (I’m using guy because it is shorter, women have the same lenses). When a prophet reads the Bible, they ask, “What does this tell me about God?” They love verses, mission, doctrine, theology. All they need is a verse for it to be true. They don’t need feelings, just a verse. For them, it is all about the mission and truth. This person will often post things about their beliefs on social media, whether it is about vaccines, theology, gay marriage, abortion, being gospel centered, etc. They seek to argue people into the kingdom of God.

The priest is the relational guy. When a priest reads the Bible they ask, “How does this passage make me feel?” They are all about shepherding, relationships, making sure everyone is cared for. They are on the lookout to make sure everyone is connected, feels loved, wanted. They want to make sure no one falls through the cracks. This person can often sacrifice truth in the name of keeping a relationship. Willing people to continue sinning in hopes they will turn around from more time spent together. Priests often find themselves wasting time in meetings or counseling sessions that never seem to end.

The king is the systems and organizational guy. When a king reads the Bible they ask, “What does this make me want to do?” They want steps. They love excel, spreadsheets, things that add up, budgets. They want systems to care for people, systems to move people from one place to the other. They want to be organized and they want the churches they are a part of to be organized. Most churches aren’t sure what to do with kings.

What often happens is if you have a priest leading the church, they will be intimidated by the kings because they are more efficient. They will struggle with prophets because prophets have a clear picture of the future. Kings will get frustrated with prophets because they can’t ever get to their vision, only cast it. They will also get frustrated at a prophet preaching because there will never be any steps. Prophets will often say what the bible says and sit down, “letting the holy spirit do the work.” Prophets will get frustrated with kings because “they don’t get it” and want to talk about how a church will get there, so a prophet always wonders if a king is on board. A prophet gets frustrated at a priest because they keep talking about people who need help or haven’t bought in and are slowing the church down.

Which one is right?

All of them. They are all needed on a leadership team and to help a church become who God calls it to be.

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Preaching on Topics You Aren’t Passionate About

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If you listen to enough of a pastor’s sermons you will hear a few things:

  1. What he is passionate about.
  2. What he struggles with.
  3. What he wants to become.

Pastor’s tend to stick with what they know or like. If I had my way, I’d preach on a New Testament letter every time. Other guys would preach from a gospel whenever given the chance. A few will throw in some Old Testament wrath of God.

Sunday, as we are going through Galatians, we got to a topic that I haven’t preached a lot on. It isn’t because I don’t care about it or don’t think it is important. Truthfully, it hasn’t come up in any of the series we’ve done. It’s the topic of approval.

Now, we all struggle with approval to some degree. We all care what people think, to some degree. It is just different for everyone.

For me, my struggles center around control and power. I don’t care too much if you like me, but I do care a lot if I lose.

If a pastor isn’t careful, they will only preach on the things they find important. This can be good and bad.

It’s good because it should mean a pastor is passionate about what he is communicating. It’s good because his sermons will tend to be more thorough because it’s on a topic he likes or has read a lot about (because he struggles with it).

If you aren’t careful though, you will end up missing an enormous part of your church. Your church doesn’t have the same struggles you have. They don’t have the same temptations or history or baggage that you do.

Because of that, they need to hear sermons about things you aren’t as passionate about.

This is one of the benefits to preaching through books of the Bible. You can’t skip anything. Now, choosing to preach through Galatians, I knew I was going to hit the topics of legalism, approval and moralism. It is the theme of the book. It is one of the reasons we chose it, because we haven’t had a lot of sermons on those topics.

Pastors will also stay away from topics they don’t want to talk about. Maybe a pastor is more of a shepherd than a vision caster, so he won’t preach a lot about vision. This will lead the church to be aimless. Or, he’s a vision caster who can’t stop talking and no one gets cared for because he never preaches on it. A pastor isn’t an evangelist, so there is no talk on evangelism, just discipleship and growing. Or the other way around.

If you simply talk about what you like, care about, are passionate about or things you know about, you will keep your church from hearing all that God wants to teach them.

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Book Notes | Manhood Restored

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Every Saturday I share some notes from a book I just read. To see some past ones, click here. This week’s book is one I used for my sermons for Revolution Church’s Fight series. It’s Manhood Restored: How the Gospel Makes Men Whole by Eric Mason.

Here are some things that stood out from my reading:

  1. Most of the devolution of our contemporary culture can be traced directly to the brokenness of men today. Whether the issue is faithfulness, crime, poverty, or a myriad of other social ills; at the core is the failure of men to become what God has created them to be.
  2. If the saga of a nation is the saga of its families written large, then the saga of a family is the saga of its men written large.
  3. Our gender continues to be steeped in a crisis of identity—genocide, self-preservation, spiritual anemia, role disillusionment, absence, perpetual adolescence, and emotional immaturity. We are deeply deficient in understanding and practicing how to relate to God and others in a healthy way.
  4. Whereas we were created to represent God’s reign in creation, we continue to invent ways to deepen our separation from God by rejecting Him in every area of our lives.
  5. We need fathers, and we’re only going to be fathers to our children when we see that true fatherhood is rooted and defined in God the Father.
  6. relationship is the most compelling factor driving what it means to be made in the image of God.
  7. There was much more wrapped up in that piece of fruit in the garden than just a bad decision. With sin, there always is. We talk ourselves into thinking that sin is just a bad choice; it’s not. It’s much deeper than that for us, just as it was for Adam.
  8. Instead of responsibility, representation, and relationship, things like chauvinism, violence, passivity, insecurity, and addiction would characterize generation after generation of men in a continually increasing way.
  9. As men, we must not become lethargic in our vigilance against things that would attempt to destroy manhood.
  10. Daddy issues have been a cross-ethnic, cross-socioeconomic, cross-generational problem that doesn’t discriminate.
  11. At the center of the father’s responsibility was the spiritual leadership that he exercised under the headship of Yahweh. This leadership would permeate every single area of the family’s life and function. Though fathers were to execute this role in partnership with the mother, the primary responsibility fell to the dad.
  12. As it is, though, young men are forced to wing it when it comes to manhood. This lack of clear expectations and standards has contributed to the crime rate, unemployment, depression, sexual confusion, and family decay. But if we are to have a return to some kind of cultural standard for fatherhood, it can only come through God, expressed through His people.
  13. So central is God’s role as Father those transformed through the gospel of Jesus Christ that one of the roles of the Holy Spirit is to make sure believers know God as Father (Rom. 8:15–16). The Holy Spirit encourages us to relate to God as Father.
  14. Jesus is the means by which everything will be restored. Though the Bible has much to say about the subject of restoration, most of the uses of this word are connected to Jesus in both the Old Testament and New. Because of Adam’s sin, Jesus will restore all things for the Father.
  15. Restoration is the act of returning something to its original state. The Bible has a slightly different take on the word, because sometimes when it speaks of restoration, it is not returning something to an original state, but to a state it has not been in before. In either case, though, restoration is about being in an originally intended state—it’s about God’s holy intention for it.
  16. In a sense, this restoration is already fully accomplished by Jesus. The cross makes it a done deal. Through the cross, we have been fully reconciled to God in Christ, and our restoration is therefore a present reality: “For if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, then how much more, having been reconciled, will we be saved by His life!” (Rom. 5:10). The greatness of the cross cannot be overstated. Through His death and resurrection, Jesus has restored all things. And yet this restoration is not yet fully realized. So Jesus is also restoring all things.
  17. Jesus has restored all things. Jesus is restoring all things. And gloriously, we are confident that Jesus will restore all things.
  18. Most men, if they’re honest, have something about themselves they want changed. Whether it is a physical feature or simply the kind of clothes they can afford to wear, men typically think that if something on the outside changes something on the inside will naturally follow. If we had the right suit, we would be more confident. If we had the perfect physique, we would feel more complete. See the problem? We assume that real change comes from outside in; it does not. Transformation goes the other direction, from the inside out. When men can avoid the mistakes of over individualization and unrealistic expectations, they can begin to experience this kind of true transformation. True transformation—real, long lasting, life change—is an overhaul of the soul first and foremost.
  19. This was one of my first encounters with sexuality. And because my first contact was a fallen one, I would need Jesus to reboot me and then teach me God’s viewpoint of sexuality.
  20. Most men’s first encounter with sex is a perverted one. Whether it was molestation, rape, porn, or playing doctor, many of us have had our “innocence” disturbed. As if being born as a sinner into a sinful world wasn’t enough, it is as easy as a couple of clicks on a keyboard for a young boy to move even further down the road of sexual corruption. When we look across the over-sexed landscape of our culture, there is something inside us that cries out, “It’s not supposed to be this way!” That’s entirely true. It wasn’t supposed to be this way.
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You Are One Choice Away from Wrecking Your Life

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Only 2 weeks left in our series Fight and you don’t want to miss either of them.

As we continue this week and look at Judges 16:1 – 22 we see how our choices matter. Most of us make decisions everyday: what to eat, who to spend time with, what to buy, what shows or movies to watch, what to read or what websites to visit. We make these decisions often with very little thought about how they will affect our lives.

Yet, every choice impacts another choice.

Which leads us to a simple truth that we will unpack this Sunday: you are one choice away from wrecking your life. 

The question is, how close are you to that choice?

If you or someone you know struggles with making right choices in their life or keeping boundaries in their life, this is a great week to bring them to Revolution.

Remember, we meet at 10am on Sunday mornings at 8300 E Speedway Blvd.

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What You’re Missing and How it Limits You

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Within Acts 29, a lot of leaders talk about the leadership lens of prophet, priest and king. The idea of using the offices of Jesus to talk about how people see things, how they best work and relate to each other. At Revolution, I find this to be a helpful way to know what a leader is like, what I can expect from them and how they will react in a situation.

The broad overview of these are:

  • Prophet: Tends to be big picture, visionary, bible person. They love to talk about where things are going. They love reading, preaching, theology. They only need a verse to be right. They ask a lot of “why” questions. In preaching, they love doctrine and can get lost in the weeds. They will preach from a letter whenever possible or throw in some Old Testament history or wrath of God just to keep everyone a little scared. They will take 6 months to preach through Jude or Philemon and will happily spend 10 weeks on 3 verses in Romans to make sure everyone gets it.
  • Priest: Tends to be shepherding, caring. They want to make sure that everyone is being taken care of, cared for and is connected. They worry a lot about feelings and how people feel about something. They ask a lot of “who” questions. In preaching, they love stories. They love to preach from the gospels and talk about how things feel. They will sacrifice doctrine to talk about how something feels. If they do say something difficult to hear or are confrontational in a sermon, they will quickly say something to soften the blow and give a verbal hug to the congregation.
  • King: Tends to think strategy and steps. They help to move a vision to reality. Often, they are very organized, detailed and financially minded. They ask a lot of “what and how” questions. In preaching, they love logic, things that add up at the end and steps. They love steps. A sermon is not complete without a next step (or 15), every point starting with the same letter, but it is clear.

These are just broad strokes.

On a leadership team and in a church, all are needed. I am high on the prophet scale with some king thrown in. I need priests around me to make sure that everyone is cared for, but to also challenge me in how I am shepherding and caring for people. I need kings to help make my visions happen. I often walk into a conversation, listen, throw out some vision ideas, get people pumped and then walk away. I need a king to walk behind me and say, “Okay, that one thing will never happen, but here’s how we can do those two things.”

While these lens help to live out of our strengths, they also make it easy to sin.

Broadly, I’ll hear leaders say, “I’m not very kingly” as a way to excuse their disorganization or financial carelessness. Or, “I’m not very priestly” as an excuse to not meet with someone or do any counseling. Or, “I’m not much of a prophet” as a way to be wishy washy in their theology or have no vision for their church. All followers of Jesus are called to be like Jesus, which means we are to be growing as prophets, priests and kings (Numbers 11:29; Acts 2:16 – 21; Romans 12:1 – 2, 15:14; Ephesians 2:6; Hebrews 4:14 – 16; 1 John 2:20, 27; Revelation 1:5-6).

Each lens though, can lead you to sin (and often you will not see these as sins because it is how you are wired). Here’s how:

  • Prophet: You are always posting your opinion on Facebook, twitter or your blog about gay marriage, eating, diets, vaccine’s, adoption, games. All you need is a verse or a scientific study and you are good to go. You are determined to win and be right, because, well “you have a verse.” You can miss the people because you are so infatuated with your vision and end up not caring for the people God has sent you to care for or the people who are supposed to help accomplish the mission because you are so focused on “out there.” The prophet also tends to be pretty legalistic and loves rules. You look at a priest and wonder why he wastes so much time on meetings and can’t confront anyone. You look at a king and get frustrated that he can’t see the big picture, he only wants to talk about the steps to get there or why something isn’t possible and you question his faith and salvation.
  • Priest: You are often willing to sacrifice doctrine, holy living and confrontation in an effort to keep the relationship. Your first priority often is the relationship and the person and will let them keep walking in sin as long everyone feels good. You have a tendency to burn out because you can’t say no to a person or a meeting. Every request that comes in is an urgent thing that must be handled now. Every crisis you jump at. You tell yourself you are needed, that you can save this person or fix that situation and will sacrifice your health, your marriage, your kids, their heart (because you won’t confront them) all to save someone or a relationship. You struggle to trust that God can save and fix them and are content to just do it yourself (God is really busy any way). You look at a prophet and wonder if he has a heart or a soul the way he talks about people. You look at a king and wonder how she can be so organized and can become frustrated at how everything has to fit on the bottom line or fit into a budget line.
  • King: You tend to think about the bottom line and ask how everything affects the bottom line. You are willing to sacrifice visions if they cost too much or relationships if take away from other endeavors. You are organized, detailed and a rule keeper and consequently if something is messy or doesn’t fit in a box, you skip it. This includes relationships. You strive to keep things in order, so new ideas or things that seem new or out in left field are off the table. You look at a priest and wonder why they are so disorganized, always late. You look at a prophet and wonder why he can never come up with a detail to his plan.

As I said, a leader and follower of Jesus is to grow in all areas to be more like Jesus. A healthy leadership team needs to have all three represented to push on each other and to keep the church functioning in all areas. But our blind spots as an individual or church can keep us from being who God created us to be.

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The One Question Every Man (and Woman) Must Answer

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So far, Fight has been incredible as we have looked at the battles every man (and woman) fight to live the life God created them to live. If you missed either of the first two weeks, you can listen to them here and here.

This week, we will be looking at the the one question every man (and woman) must answer. 

In Judges 14:11 – 15:20 (which you can look at if you want to read ahead), we see what drives Samson. All of us, whether we realize it or not, are driven by something. It might be a past memory or hurt, it might be a parent we want to please or be better than, it might be a spouse we want to make happy, it might be kids or a teacher we want to be proud of us. For many, it is their emotions that drive their decisions, habits, relationships and how they spend their money and time.

If we aren’t careful, we allow the wrong things to drive us.

Here’s one way to know:

When you look at your life and don’t like where something is? It might be your finances, school, career, a relationship, weight or your whole life. In that moment, if something is not where you think it should be, you have answered the one question incorrectly. You have allowed something other than Jesus to drive your life.

But it isn’t too late!

If you or someone you know struggles with answering this one question incorrectly, this is a great week to bring them to Revolution.

(I also have a really exciting announcement about the future of Revolution Church and Planet Rev, our kids ministry, that you don’t want to miss!)

Remember, we meet at 10am on Sunday mornings at 8300 E Speedway Blvd.

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This Weekend @ Revolution || How to Find Freedom

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So glad to be back in the saddle and preaching again.

I’m really grateful to Pantano Church and their willingness to help us while I’m in Africa and providing a place for us to shoot sermon videos. Love how the church in Tucson is taking steps to work together and move the kingdom forward.

This week, we are continuing our series Jesus Changes Everything and looking at John 8:31 – 59 as we look at the topic of what it means to be free and follow Jesus. I’ll often get questions such as, “How do I know if I’m a follower of Jesus? What if I continue sinning and doing what I used to do? What if I can’t stop doing something? What if I’m afraid? Have doubts? Or struggle with anything? Does that mean I’m not a follower of Jesus?”

Those are enormous questions and are answered in this important passage. So, if you’ve ever asked those questions, wondered them inside your head or know someone who has, then be sure to bring them with you (you never know when a simple invite will make an eternal difference).

We also started sign-ups for our missional communities recently. Our MC’s are smaller groups that meet around the city on different nights for the purpose of community and discipleship. We say this all the time, but if you don’t get plugged into an MC, the countdown for you sticking at Revolution begins to tick as this is where care, shepherding and growth happens best. And we would not anyone to miss out on those things.

I’ll see you this Sunday at 10am.

Remember, we meet at 8300 E. Speedway Blvd. at 10am.

How the New Testament Came Together

Because the topic of today’s sermon brought up the question of “how we got the New Testament” and “Why can we trust the Canon.” I thought I would take this opportunity to pass along some great resources about the question.

It is an enormously important question and one all Christians should know the answer to and have confidence in. As a church, Revolution believes that all Scripture is inspired by God and authoritative to our lives (2 Timothy 3:16 – 17).

If you had some questions after today’s sermon on how the New Testament came together and why we can trust the New Testament, here are some things worth checking out:

Here’s a short video of D.A. Carson explaining how the New Testament came together:


Two respected scholars discuss why we can rely on the Scripture: