Monday, December 29, 2008

My Recommendations for the Chicago Bears (Because I know how much you care)

Some may look at the Bears season and think "9-7, just missed the playoffs, not bad...". Well, that's not my view. They had every opportunity to win games and they gave them away. That's not to say that there weren't good signs on this team this year - Kyle Orton and Matt Forte surprised everybody. But at the end of the day, they couldn't close the deal.

Here are my recommendations for the front office during the offseason:

1. Fire Bob Babich. The defense he inherited from Ron Rivera was #2 and #5 in the two years prior - now they are #28th. Pathetic. He should go.

2. They need to upgrade their safeties and corners. They have good personnel, but they don't have anyone that is a lock down, never throw to him kind of guy. They could use that.

3. I think its time to move away from the Tampa 2 defense. It's great at stopping the run, but they don't have the personnel to stop the passing game (see point#2). At the very least, they need to mix in other schemes with it more.

4. They need a blazing receiver. Man, how that would open up the field for their run game! They have Hester, and he's developing, but it would be great to get a top line receiver in the draft.

5. As always, they need to watch their offensive line. They drafted Chris Williams last year, and hopefully he'll make a contribution this coming season. But they are all getting old.

If they do these, they will be great in 2009. They have a cake schedule and I predict that they go 11-5 and win the NFC North.

Go Bears! (in 2009)

Friday, December 26, 2008

Still Awaiting Word on Facility

I am still waiting to hear back from the Rio Vista Recreation Center as to whether or not we can rent space there. A church is currently meeting there, but they have communicated that they may not be continuing. I should hear back sometime next week. There are some great benefits of using this facility as a starting point for Grace Church.

Keep praying for God to give wisdom as we make these decisions - for the glory of His name and the good of the people in the West Valley.

Book Review: What is a Healthy Church Member?

I just finished reading Thabiti M. Anyabwile's book, "What is a Healthy Church Member?". I'm not sure if I'm aware of any other book like this. There are others that address the responsibility of the church (corporately), but this book addresses it at an individual level.

This short book has within its pages some of the key marks of a healthy, God glorifying Christian. I appreciated the emphasis on the tried and true - there wasn't anything in here that would blow your mind. It simply calls for us to walk out our faith in genuine community and with certain priorities like holiness, prayer, humility, etc. Being a preacher, I especially enjoyed the opening chapter on 'being an expositional listener'. It's not enough for preachers to strive to preach well - congregations need to strive to listen well. Very good (and encourages me to expositionally preach)!

We will definitely be going through this book together as a church plant team. I can't wait until 2009.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas Peoria!

Tara and I hope you all had a great day celebrating our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! Just think - next year we will be in Peoria and the church will be a few months old. I'm looking forward to all the stories of God's grace between this Christmas and next.

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Football Liberation

Most of you who are reading this have been attending Sovereign Grace Church in Gilbert. If so, you've been under tyrannical leadership - the kind that shamefully promotes the Dallas Cowboys as if they are actually "America's Team". Sadly, many of you have been deceived for so long you wouldn't know freedom if you saw it.

Good news - GREAT NEWS: Freedom is here. Run to the open door. Throw off the shackles of your oppression and claim the dignity that is rightfully yours - to believe and follow a real NFL Team (a team that doesn't employ the services of known felons). In short, now is the time to become a die hard Chicago Bears fan!

For me, the Bears are a model of the gospel. They are not the most hyped team. They are not the most athletic. They need serious help in multiple positions. They don't deserve to win games like last night (DID YOU SEE IT???).

And yet, through unmerited favor, they continue on. They fail, but they don't lose. They are beaten, but they still win. Miracles happen with this team. They take the harden unbeliever and turn them into disciples. I promise it can happen for you, too.

Go Bears!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Why Grace Church?

You may be wondering: Why Grace Church? Why not Sovereign Grace Church? Why not something more cutting edge, like The Gathering or Teleos or some other Greek name?

It's simple. I love grace. It's one of the most profound and powerful doctrines in the entire Bible. It's completely changed my life. And its at the core of the gospel - grace. We are not saved by anything we do. Our works only further serve to condemn us, as we fail to live as we ought. No, we are utterly dependent on God and his gospel to bring us into right standing with Him. And this undeserved favor that has been given to us in Christ, through his death and resurrection, is the grace we stand in.

And that's why I want the name to be Grace Church. It's simple, but its clear and liberating. Of course, it will always be preached as sovereign grace as that is what all grace is. But I like the simplicity of the name for communicating to people what we are about. It doesn't hurt that it will help us in conversation to not confuse the Peoria church with the Gilbert church.

Please pray for God's wisdom as we consider the location for the new church. The leading candidate is the Rio Vista Recreational Center - pretty nice, huh?

I am supposed to meet with the facilities director on Tuesday to discuss a contract. I've talked to her several times in the last week and she is very easy to work with.

This facility would be phenomenal on a number of levels. The access to it from the Loop 101 is amazing. It's literally 2 minutes from the Thunderbird exit to your parking spot. It is in the heart of an award winning community park and becoming a main gathering spot for families in Peoria. What a great place to plant a church!

So, please join me in praying for the Lord's will. I will post something on it as soon as I know. Thanks!

The first of many

Peoria - here we come! Church planting is in our hearts and I hope this blog serves to inspire and equip us in the months to come.

Here is the first post of many on the gospel and church planting. I love this one because it highlights the center of our faith and what we are going to preach.

"Nothing puts life into men like a dying Savior. All other topics in Holy Scripture are important, and none of them are to be cast into the shade. But the death of the Son of God is the central sun of all these other minor luminaries. May this house be utterly consumed with fire before the day should come here when there should be given an uncertain sound about the atonement. This is not merely a doctrine of the church; it is the doctrine of the church. Leave this out, and you have no truth, you have no Savior, and you have no church."–Charles Spurgeon

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