scott mcknight on the "robust gospel"

One of the blogs I link to on this site is Leadership Journal’s Out of Ur.  Today there is a post from Skye Jethani, who recently attended a conference where he heard Scott McKnight (whose blog, Jesus Creed, I also link to here) speak on the nature of the Gospel.  Scott, who teaches at North Park University, is that rare theologian who speaks and writes in language most of us can understand.

If you have a couple of minutes, take a look at Skye’s recap of Scott’s conference talk.  Scott differentiates the “popular evangelical gospel” with a “robust gospel presentation.”  Included among the characteristics of a robust Gospel are,

  • A robust gospel cannot be “tractified.”
  • Bible readers cannot skip from Genesis 3 to Romans 3.
  • The “problem” is finally resolved in “four atoning moments”: the life of Jesus, the death of Jesus, the resurrection of Jesus, and the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Fascinating stuff.  It’s these kinds of thoughts and questions that make me think about how we invite people to place their faith in Jesus.  While the Gospel message is beautifully simple, it’s also wonderfully deep.  I think it’s that balance, simplicity and depth, that Scott is encouraging us to consider.

volunteer celebration…tonight!

OK, if you don’t know about the Parkview Community Church Volunteer Celebration by now, well, I’m not sure what to say.  But here is your one last reminder.  Tonight is the night!  If you have volunteered at PCC over the last year you are invited.  If you have volunteered somewhere in the community over the last year you are invited.  I believe close to 200 people have told us they’re coming.  However, (pastor) Brian and (pastor) Chuck are in charge of food for the celebration and I know for a fact they bought more than enough, so showing up tonight even if you didn’t RSVP is not a problem.  The bottom line: if you gave your time to serve this year we want to honor you tonight.

The staff is showing up at 4:00 to get things set up, but everyone else is invited to come at 6:00.  I really hope you can make it.

the book fair, cicadas, leaders, and baptism

  • This Saturday and Sunday is the Printer’s Row Book Fair in Chicago. I’ve wanted to go to this for the past few years, but I think we may actually make it on Saturday. This could be dangerous…I’d better let Maggie hold onto the money.
  • For the past few months (pastor) Brian has been saying that cicadas are edible and that he wanted to eat one when they finally showed up. Well, I beat him to the punch. At a party last Saturday night, some guy I’d never met had a Tupperware full of bbq’ed cicadas. Wings, eyes, and all. Yes, it was crunchy. No, it didn’t taste like chicken.
  • Today I had lunch in Chicago with one of PCC’s elders who works in the city. We had a great conversation about future ministry at PCC and I walked away once again thanking God for the great leaders He’s blessed us with. Please pray for those at PCC who have been charged with leading the church.
  • We’ve got some baptisms coming up this Sunday. The staff is really excited about the stories we’ll be hearing from those being baptized. You really, really don’t want to miss it! Every baptism is an awesome experience, but I think the stories we’ll hear on Sunday will be particularly energizing.

ray’s random thoughts: honoring our volunteers


HONOR – to direct applause toward those who deserve it.

Did anyone watch the MTV movie awards Sunday night? Ok. . .I didn’t either, but I read about them on Monday morning. Is it me, or do people in the entertainment business love to applaud themselves? Every other week it seems some award show is on TV as the Hollywood glamour crowd pays tribute to their own accomplishments. Part of me cringes at such behavior, yet at the same time, maybe we in the church go to the other extreme and rarely, if ever, acknowledge and applaud the efforts and accomplishments of our people. When it comes to recognizing and honoring others, could it be that somewhere in between never and constantly is a good healthy balance? I think there is.

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a quote about worship from “simply christian”

A book I’m currently reading and enjoying immensely is Simply Christian by N. T. Wright. This morning I read the chapter on worship and was struck by the following quote. Given the preceding post about worship I thought I’d share it here.

This brings us to the first of two golden rules at the heart of spirituality. You become like what you worship. When you gaze in awe, admiration, and wonder at something or someone, you begin to take on something of the character of the object of your worship. Those who worship money become, eventually, human calculating machines. Those who worship sex become obsessed with their own attractiveness and prowess. Those who worship power become more and more ruthless.

So what happens when you worhsip the creator God whose plan to rescue the world and put it to rights has been accomplished by the Lamb who was slain? The answer comes in the second golden rule: because you were made in God’s image, worship makes you more truly human. When you gaze in love and gratitude at the God in whose image you were made, you do indeed grow. You discover more of what it means to be fully alive.

chicago gospel music festival

On Friday afternoon I found myself deep in conversation with a couple of PCC friends about the nature of worship. Specifically we were wondering about the differences and similarities between worshiping God and honoring God. Like many conversations with these two friends I walked away with more questions than answers! One of the questions our conversation kept returning to was, Where can worship happen? Is it only corporate or can it take place individually? Is music necessary? Must the setting necessarily be intentionally Christian? Turns out our conversation was a perfect set-up for the next afternoon.

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