Saturday, October 28, 2006

The Authority of God's Word for God's Church

I made it on time for the first session (alert the media!), so I signed in and slapped on a nametag. I noticed lots of Simi Valley registrants on the list, and I found out later that a surprisingly high number of attendees here are not from either Cornerstone Church or Eternity Bible College, but from surrounding churches. The lecture room was almost full – lots of college kids and young single types. I’m guessing the turnout is 150-200, which is probably the largest conference ETM has ever held.

Joshua Walker, provost of Eternity Bible College, welcomed everyone to the conference and opened with a word of prayer. We sang a couple of praise songs, and then Doug Main, assistant pastor at Community Bible Church and an instructor at Eternity Bible, introduced Pastor McDougall. I had to chuckle knowingly when Doug said, “to many of us at CBC, his first name is Pastor” because he embodies so much of what a pastor is called to be.

Pastor began by saying, “I’m going to talk to you about God’s Church.” (It helps if you pronounce it “charch." LOL.) He gave an overview of his ministry through the last 44 years, then outlined his goals for the conference’s attendees: 1) personal renewal, 2) renewal in their marriages and families, and 3) renewal in the life of God’s Church.

I’m tempted to say that the title of this talk should have been, “McDougall’s Greatest Hits, Volume 1.” It encapsulated many of the things we’ve been hearing on Sunday mornings for the past ten years.

“This (holding up Bible) is the only authority; it’s all that matters… Understanding what it says isn’t so difficult; it’s a willingness to submit to what it says that’s difficult.”
Pastor said that there are three tests for us as we encounter Scripture:
1) Is it really the authority?
2) Is it the only authority?
3) Will we let it define itself?

He referenced 1 Corinthians 4:6, “…do not go beyond what stands written…”, which is pretty much the theme verse for CBC. In preaching through 1 Peter on Sunday mornings, he realized that he wants to emulate aspects of Peter’s life – every decision, every sermon, every theological position, and everything he writes must be based solely on the Word of God.

He said that one of the main problems we have in the Church today is that when we want advice on something, we run to the Christian bookstore and read all kinds of books, many times to the exclusion of THE Book. He cautioned the audience not to spend more time reading the notes in their study Bibles than reading the text itself.

He quoted David Wells: “Today the issue is not so much the inerrancy of Scripture but its sufficiency.” He added his own corollary: “The Bible by itself is sufficient for the church Christ created. But the Bible by itself may not be sufficient for the churches we have created.” This elicited lots of ohhhhs from the audience, as if 100 mental light bulbs went on all at once.

That one moment was very encouraging for me, because I remember having many of those light bulb moments when dh and I first began to sit under Pastor McDougall’s teaching ten years ago. After a while, it’s easy to forget the excitement of learning something new. Seeing all those people interact with these principles for the first time made me excited again.

One area to apply 1 Cor. 4:6 is in learning to separate personal preferences from biblical principles. We must not go beyond the Book in judging the motives of men’s hearts, since we often don’t even know our own motives. But more importantly, if we “speak down on” (katalaleo, James 4:11) someone else, we put ourselves above that person, and we speak down on the law. The only time we should “jump in with both feet” is when someone has clearly violated a clear directive of Scripture.

Finally, Pastor explained the pyramid. (To follow what I’m saying in this paragraph, open the link in a new window.) “Jesus didn’t give people rules; He gave people principles.” Principles and people were the extent of Jesus’ ministry. He didn’t leave any programs behind. Programs aren’t wrong, but we need to keep in mind that they’re our creation. As for property, Jesus didn’t even have a place to lay His head at night. Pastor also mentioned that most churches have the pyramid inverted, with property at the base and principles at the peak.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Liveblogging, Kinda Sorta

My pastor, Don McDougall, is teaching at a conference this weekend through his Eternal Truth Ministries. It started last night and runs through tomorrow afternoon. The hosts this time are Cornerstone Church and Eternity Bible College in Simi Valley, California.

Pastor McDougall holds these “leadership retreats” a couple of times a year in various locations, but there’s always at least one in southern California each year. His focus is on pastors and elders, but the principles he teaches are valuable for any member of Christ’s Body.

After reading Tim Challies’ liveblogging accounts of the Shepherd’s Conference and the DGM Conference, I got the wild idea of liveblogging this event. Since I got this thunderbolt of an idea only a few days ago, I’m doing everything last minute. Par for the course around here! I’m not able to attend all the sessions either, so I’ll be getting whatever info I can from fellow church members who will be there. I apologize for the rinky-dinkiness of the setup, but I want to be able to take at least some of what I've been learning over the past 10 years and spread it around to as many people as possible. Cornerstone is videotaping the sessions, too, so when those are available, I’ll link to them.

Session 1, “The Authority of God’s Word for God’s Church”, was held last night. I’ll post my thoughts on this message shortly.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Friday, October 20, 2006

Kid, Meet Candy Store

"Duh" Moment #881: If you're a book lover having trouble picking out books for your bibliophilic progeny, don't hand a book catalog to said child and expect him to be able to help you narrow your choices. Waste. of. time.

The titles with a blue mark next to them are the ones The Goose wants.

Update: She just pointed out to her dad that she didn't mark the Instructor's Guide. "I'm not an instructor."

Thursday, October 05, 2006

The Daily Weekday Schedule

How much more proof do I need that she's a total Goose? For your consideration, observe:

Notice there's no mention of "make bed" on this list. But she intends to brush her teeth THREE times a day. Uh-huh.

The "tip: Fridays CK" refers to our Friday morning Mommy-and-Me preschool co-op.

At the bottom, it says "Read H.B." H.B. is short for Hardy Boys.

I love that she put "brush hair" before "eat breakfast." Brushing her hair is her least favorite activity; she avoids it like the plague. Now I have a document that SHE created that I can use to point to her need to brush her hair daily. It's hairbrushing apologetics.

I could just eat her up, she's so adorable.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

I Resemble That Remark

One of the moms over at the WTM boards linked this Weird Al Yankovic video. I busted a gut watching this one. It reminded me of my score on the geek quiz you see on the Web. And yes, the guy dancing in the background is Donny Osmond.

Weird Al is one of the most creative minds in showbiz -- and he's got my sense of humor.

Back from Playing Blog Hooky

I know, it's been a whole month since I last posted, and my faithful readers have both been wondering what's become of me.

The weekend after Labor Day we went camping for a few days with my mom. She went home a day earlier than we did. On our way home, the siding on the trailer started peeling away like a banana. One minute, everything was fine; the next minute, I looked at the mirror to see the siding panel flapping in the wind, and the insulation bulging.

We got off the freeway right away and pulled over to survey the damage. The wood at the front of the trailer had rotted away due to leakage, so the screws weren't holding anymore. To get us into the nearest town, dh took screws from the rotted areas and reattached the siding at points where the wood wasn't damaged.

We found a Walgreens and bought two rolls of white duct tape. We spent the next half hour taping over the repairs, to keep the wind from doing any more damage.

I didn't think to take a picture of the trailer before we fixed it. IMO, the trailer looks like we used a giant White-out tape dispenser on it. It looks better now than before the trip!

Suffice it to say, between this adventure and our discovery of a cracked fitting in the fresh water tank system (and the cabinets that don't close anymore, and the poorly designed storage, and the cramped quarters, etc.), it's time for a new trailer!