Monday, March 8, 2010

We're Moving

on over to

Taft will continue his book reviews and you'll see many new contributors writing for the 728b Foundation, a registered non-profit organization that serves the modern infrastructure needs in developing nations, specifically working with and for orphans.

Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


This book was completed in 2007, it is written by David Kinniman. It's 246 pages in length.

The title of the book, Unchristian, can be a little misleading if you don’t read the subtitle. In short, this book is about how a specific generation (defined as mosaics: 16-29 yr olds) thinks about modern American Christianity and it’s followers.

I will admit, I am always skeptical of this type of research because even if you surveyed 1 Million people, you're still not hitting everyone. Also, if you did this type of research for a project in H.S. or college, you and I both know how data can be manipulated to prove a predetermined theory.

With that said, you have two options when it comes to this book:

1. You can view it as an honest attempt to understand how followers of Christ are portraying Christianity...


2. You can choose to be looking at this book as another way to say that you know everything and no one can tell you anything you don’t know.

It's your call

In their research, they basically came up with 6 basic themes that popped up repeatedly with the people who were surveyed, concerning Christianity and it’s followers in America.

1. We are Hypocritical.

2. We are too focused on getting converts. They (potential-converts) feel like we view them as "targets" and not people.

3. We are Anti-Homosexual. We are bigots towards homosexual people and their lifestyles.

4. We are Sheltered.

5. Too Political

6. Judgemental

After reading this book, I was both saddened by how we have managed to look so little like Christ as a church “universal”, but also determined to to my part as a preacher to equip and empower followers of Christ with a biblical-worldview that will help them change the course of where the church has been going.

Any Christian in 2010 with their eyes halfway open is seeing that discipleship is essential if we as a church are going to succeed in effectively representing Christ. I recommend that any person who desires to have an effective ministry past the next 5 years pick up this book.

Before I go, here are some quotes that I picked up from the book:

•Mosaics and busters are the ultimate “conversation generations.” Then want to discuss debate. and question everything.

•…we cannot simply dismiss the criticism of hypocrisy by saying “Christians are not perfect; they are just sinners just like anyone else.”

•One-third of the people who qualify as born-again Christians embrace this idea (that “avoiding sin” is the main goal of being a Christian)

•We rationalize that outsiders don’t want to become Christ followers because they can’t cut it. The truth is that few outsiders say they avoid Christianity because the moral standards are too restrictive.

•Older born-agains need to look more carefully at what Jesus teaches, that spiritual maturity is demonstrated in a life as an outcome of the condition of a person’s heart and soul, that behaviors follow belief.

•…younger born-again Christians need to take an honest assessment of their lives and realize that they are increasingly poor witnesses of a life and mind transformed by their faith.

•We cannot hope to shed our hypocritical label if our lifestyles offer no proof of the “fruit” of Christ-likeness.

•Rather than being genuinely interested in people for their friendship, we often seem like spiritual headhunters

•…we heard no favorable comments about street witnessing, where Christians intercept unknown passers-by to share the Good News.

•We are learning that one of the primary reasons that ministry to teenagers fails to produce a lasting faith is because they are not being taught to think.

•We do not look like Jesus to outsiders because we do not love outsiders like Jesus does.

•It is unChristian to lose your sense that every one’s fallen nature affects all aspects of his or her life, including sexuality, and to forget God’s command to love people in order to point them to Christ.

•Another reason sheltered faith is unappealing is that young adults resist simplistic answers. Mosaics and Busters relish mystery, uncertainty, and ambiguity. They are not bothered by contradiction or incongruities.

•…our choices to live a sheltered life often leaves us unable or unwilling to help people who need Jesus.

•If we allow the actions and attitudes of outsiders to shock us, we become either isolationists or crusaders, and neither extreme will have much influence on outsiders.

•Keep in mind that politics only gets you,so far. You change people’s lives most deeply by transforming their hearts, by helping them embrace a passionate, thoughtful, personal connection to Jesus.

This book will challenge you and the the way you converse/interact.

Just sayin'.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Useless Fridays (Vol. 7)

Ever felt like a complete waste on Fridays?

You sit down at your desk, check email for a little while (two hours), head to a quick lunch (with stops for coffee and dessert) and then get back to do some real work for the afternoon (Solitaire, WOW, online poker) and then face the weekend when it's time to go home?

If that describes you, then we CELEBRATE you and your dedication. Let's face it, you perform slave labor Monday through Thursday, Friday should be your day.

So, while you are doing mindless things and "pointless" hours are spent in your chair so that you can say you "didn't take Friday off"'s some useless information to keep you hard at work. Enjoy.

*EDITORS NOTE: We were so useless on Friday, that we didn't even get this done. Thus, the Monday publish date.


-Ketchup is excellent for cleaning brass, especially tarnished or corroded brass.

-Kleenex tissues were originally used as filters in gas masks.

-Mixing Sani-Flush and Comet cleaners has been known to cause explosions.

-People in China sometimes use firecrackers around their homes as fire alarms.


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Forgotten God

This book was published in 2009 and is 166 pages long. This is the same dude who wrote Crazy Love.

Francis Chan attempts to acquaint the reader with the Holy Spirit.

Confusing. Mysterious. Controversial. Rational. Emotional. All of these are words that can be applied to how Christians from different faith-traditions approach or describe the Holy Spirit.

In his new book, preacher, speaker and author Francis Chan wants to add another word: forgotten. For all the confessions, faith-statements, studies and claims, Chan asserts that in practice, the Holy Spirit is largely left out of the everyday lives and churches of Christ-followers in the United States –with disastrous consequences for our mission.

Forgotten God: Reversing Our Tragic Neglect of the Holy Spirit is his plea for Jesus’ people to embrace the adventure of living the real promise and power of the Holy Spirit.

This is not a thorough-going theology of the Holy Spirit, though one early chapter briefly surveys the basic Biblical teachings on the Holy Spirit from a balanced evangelical viewpoint. The observations, principles and assertions arise from solid Biblical grounding and authority. Chan is clearly not writing for theologians, but for the average Christ-follower and evangelical church member. The material is accessible and the tone conversational, which means that Forgotten God may prove to be very helpful for small groups or as the basis for discussion within a church family.

Across its seven chapters, Forgotten God weaves together three strands of thought as Chan interacts with common questions or issues about the Holy Spirit. First, there is Chan’s observation or diagnosis of life and ministry undertaken apart from the Spirit. He is clearly burdened by the fact that so many claim Christ, but can share little experience of His power nor give compelling evidence of the difference He makes to those who do not yet know Him. At times incredulous, but always kind, there is clearly a prophetic edge to these passages.

“I’m willing to bet there are millions of churchgoers across America who cannot confidently say they have experienced His presence or action in their lives over the past year. And many of them do not believe they can. The benchmark of success in church services has become more about attendance than the movement of the Holy Spirit. The “entertainment” model of church was largely adopted in the 1980’s and ‘90’s and while it alleviated some of our boredom for a couple of hours a week, it filled our churches with self-focused consumers rather than self-sacrificing servants attuned to the Holy Spirit….The light of the American church is flickering and nearly extinguished, having largely sold out to the kingdoms and values of this world….We are not all we were made to be when everything in our lives and churches can be explained apart from the work and presence of the Spirit of God…shouldn’t there be a huge difference between the person who has the Spirit of God living inside of him or her and the person who does not?”
That expectation –of clearly and radically different churches and Christians– raises a conflict of the heart that needs resolution. The second strand of thought begins to move towards that resolution. Chan regularly pleads for believers to avoid becoming “stuck” in their previous understandings of, or traditions they have been taught about, the Holy Spirit. The life of the Spirit is a dynamic one, involving hearts tender to His whispers, flexible to His promptings and open to His possibilities. People on all sides of the evangelical spectrum may miss the Spirit’s moving or even grieve Him because of a mindset that blinds them to His present work. Some will miss because they expect too little; others because they expect too much.

“No matter what tradition you come from, you likely carry baggage and harbor stereotypes when it comes to the Holy Spirit….There are a lot of stereotypes (some of which are true) and a lot of abuses, and they don’t come from just one side of the issue.”
Chan does an excellent (even pastoral) job of gently pointing out areas where Christians can get stuck (ie, fear over what the Holy Spirit might do; wanting to see miracles) and gently leading them to consider the fullness of what the Bible teaches (ie, the Spirit is the Father’s good gift to His children; He also comes to shape character and display Jesus’ glory more fully).

The final strand of Forgotten God (and the most important) is the encouragement towards constant, practical living in the presence, and under the power and direction, of the Holy Spirit. Chan shows his hand early in the book:

“My hunch is that most of you reading this book have basic knowledge about the Holy Spirit, but when it comes to experiencing the Holy Spirit in your life, it’s a different story…the goal of this book is not to completely understand the Spirit or to go back to the apostolic age. The goal is to live faithfully today.” Towards the end, he confesses, “I want nothing more than to live in total surrender and abandonment to the Spirit every moment I have left on this earth….I don’t want my life to be explainable apart from the Spirit”
That is not an easy or simple goal—especially in a Christian world so saturated with busy, check-off /checklist spirituality. Chan is very helpful in demonstrating the practical and indispensable role of the Spirit in areas like becoming more like Jesus in character and action, dealing with sin, following God’s will in our everyday lives, and serving God in the world. One thing I really appreciated was his refusal to allow Spirit-filling and living to remain in an individual shrink-wrapped cocoon. Spirit-filling is intended to press us into the world—and sometimes that is not safe:

“The truth is that the Spirit of the living God is guaranteed to ask you to go somewhere or do something you wouldn’t normally want or choose to do. The Spirit will lead you into the way of the cross, as He led Jesus to the cross, and that is definitely not a safe or pretty or comfortable place to be. The Holy Spirit of God will mold you into the person you were made to be…”
There’s power in living by the Spirit. And of course, in the end, Christians who live by the Holy Spirit will form churches that are desperate for the Holy Spirit, live by the Holy Spirit and are themselves powerful– “ an unstoppable force spreading the fame of Jesus and advancing the border of His Kingdom.

With Forgotten God, Francis Chan has given us an important reminder. We need the Holy Spirit for every moment of life and ministry. He is not an option or an afterthought. He is a necessity, for He is our life.

This book rocks. Just sayin'.

Watch this! (if you want more)

Friday, February 12, 2010

Useless Fridays (Vol. 6)

Ever felt like a complete waste on Fridays?

You sit down at your desk, check email for a little while (two hours), head to a quick lunch (with stops for coffee and dessert) and then get back to do some real work for the afternoon (Solitaire, WOW, online poker) and then face the weekend when it's time to go home?

If that describes you, then we CELEBRATE you and your dedication. Let's face it, you perform slave labor Monday through Thursday, Friday should be your day.

So, while you are doing mindless things and "pointless" hours are spent in your chair so that you can say you "didn't take Friday off"'s some useless information to keep you hard at work. Enjoy.


-Slaves under the last emperors of China wore pigtails so they could be picked out quickly.

-The Chinese ideogram for trouble depicts two women living under one roof.

-The Chinese Nationalist Golf Association claims the game is of Chinese origin (ch'ui wan - the ball hitting game) from the third or second century. There were official ordinances prohibiting a ball game with clubs in Belgium and Holland from 1360.

-The Chinese, in historic times, used marijuana only as a remedy for dysentery.

-The Great Wall of China, which is more than 4,000 miles long, took more than 1,700 years to build. There is enough stone in the Great Wall to build an eight-foot wall encircling the globe at the equator.

-The world's youngest parents were eight and nine and lived in China in 1910.