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May 2009
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July 2009

Christians and Homosexuality

In his book ground-breaking research book unChristian, David Kinneman reports that the number one description of Christians by the younger generation today (of those outside the church) is "anti-homosexual," followed not too far by "judgmental" and "hyprocritical." Out of twenty attributes that were assessed, both positive and negative, as they related to Christianity, the perception of being anti-homosexual was at the top of the list. More than nine out of ten (91%) of outsiders said "anti-homosexual" accurately describes present-day Christians. [This research was done in the USA] Anti-homosexual, gay-hater, homophobic - is this what Jesus called us to be? To... Read more →

Dare to be a Daniel

Daniel is a interesting book containing six stories followed by four incredible visions. We've also been sharing a series of messages entitled Living in Babylon. I think Daniel was a remarkable person. As a teenager he was taken from his family in Jerusalem and exiled to Babylon. Babylon was a pagan city where his captors sought to indoctrinate him and his friends in their philosophy and worldview. Would Daniel survive? Amazingly, Daniel not only survived ... he thrived ... in Babylon ... for over 60 years! Here are some principles we can learn from Daniel and seek to imitate in... Read more →

Cool Toys - The Smart Pen

While we're talking about cool toys, I have to mention the 'smart pen.' One of my friends living in the USA has one and showed it to me. There are a variety of smart pens on the market. The one I saw was the Pulse Smart Pen created by Livescribe. It is quite amazing what it can do [for a video demo click here] I see that Office Works has the 1GB version available here in Australia. There is also some software that you can use with this smart pen to translate your notes into your computer. What will they... Read more →

Cool Toys - The Kindle

I once heard that "the difference between the men and the boys is the price they pay for their toys." It's true and of course, women have toys too :) Recently, while in the USA, I met a woman who had a 1st generation Kindle, created by Amazon. It's a really cool e-book reader. The latest version, the Kindle DX, has a bigger screen and holds up to 3,500 books. [Click here for a video demo. For a few recent reviews of the Kindle DX, click here and here] Amazon stated goal is to put every book in print into... Read more →

The Hooding Ceremony

The day before my graduation at Fuller Theological Seminary I attended a Hooding Ceremony. I wasn't sure what this was all about until I got there. Here is a brief history of the tradition of the 'doctoral hood' ... According to Nancy Stiehler Thurston and Hendrika VanDeKemp, "In the Middle Ages, lecturers and students at European universities were so impoverished that they wore gowns to cover up their worn clothes. The lecturers also wore hoods that indicated which universities they had graduated from. In those days, lecturers were paid by their students. The students would toss coins into the pocket... Read more →

Doctor Mark!

Well, I did it. I finished my Doctor of Ministry degree at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California. Yesterday, I attended the graduation ceremony which was held at the Lake Avenue Church in Pasadena, where over 400 people graduated with various degrees (80 from the Doctor of Ministry program), cheered on by friends and family members. It was a really enjoyable occasion. It's great to stop and celebrate the milestones in our lives. For me there was a sense of joy, fulfillment, closure, and a bit of relief for finally being finished. I'd really like to thank my wife Nicole... Read more →

Cooking - from the Amateur Chef

I grew up in a home where my mum did all the cooking. Dad and us kids did the dishes and not much else in the kitchen (other than toast, cereal, and the occasional milk shake). When I got married, Nicole did all the cooking and she's good at it too (only two not so good meals in 23 years - but that's a story for another day!). A few years ago I decided to venture into the kitchen and start doing some cooking. I'm still an amateur but I've done a few Italian dishes, some Thai curries, and a... Read more →

Book Reading Update

I've been reading a few books lately (I love books!). Here are some comments about them: The Prodigal God by Timothy Keller. This is one of the best books I have read for a while. Keller unpacks the story of the Prodigal Son and shows how it is really a story of two lost sons, or more accurately, of a loving father. See my earlier posts for more details on this. Definitely worth the read. The Multi-Site Church by Scott McConnell. This is the best book I have read to date on this topic. Scott pulls together research from over... Read more →

Sleep in Heavenly Peace

Sleep - you've got to love it. However, I was so tired last night that I couldn't get to sleep. My brain was so active ... after preaching five times over the weekend and then finishing off the last few edits of a new book I'm writing called Prison Break ... my mind was so alive and creative that I got up at midnight and spent an hour outlining two more books I'd like to write. Eventually I got back to sleep and had a good 8 1/2 hours. It's Monday today and I thank God for the queen. You... Read more →

Christian History

The Christian History magazine has been an excellent source of information and inspiration about church history and influential people for many decades now. Magazine issues have included articles on people such as John Calvin, St. Augustine, John Wesley, Charles Finney, C.S. Lewis, and William Wilberforce, as well as topics such as Women in the Early Church, the Great Awakening, the Crusades, and Pentecostalism. Recently, the magazine has been taken out of circulation and has gone completely online. All ninety-nine issues are available free on the Christian History web site and you can also sign up for a free newsletter. Well... Read more →