Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Shack

I finally gave in and read "The Shack". I don't usually run out and read popular Christian literature (I learned that lesson with "The Purpose Driven Life") but so many students had been asking me how I felt about it so I wanted to be able to give them my opinion. I went into it with a very critical mind mostly because I had been given very mixed reviews from several sources that I respect. After reading it I was actually pleasantly surprised. I would say that it has a lot of good but also a lot of dangerous content. While I definitely still think a lot of the author's theology was flawed, I think "The Shack" serves the author's intent to make people long for the presence of God in their lives'. The story is absolutely gut wrenching. I found myself in tears several times and not really knowing why but it really is THAT powerful.

Now for the negatives. I felt that at times the author painted a very irreverent, unbiblical, and inaccurate picture of God's character. While he did a fantastic job of showing God's love for us, he failed to show the other side of the coin and as a result, depicted a very "user friendly/God is whoever you want him to be" God. Very dangerous!

Overall, I would definitely recommend "The Shack". You definitely have to take it for what it is and really stay focused on the author's original intent. If you go into it expecting a theologically sound book you will be disappointed. If you want to read a book that brings comfort and goes a long way in helping us understand God's love, this is the book for you.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

I AM Holy

As promised, three weeks ago I had my first opportunity to preach at The Well. Actually, now that I think about it, it was really my first opportunity to preach ever. We had been going through a series on the attributes of God called "I AM" (see posting below) and I elected to talk about God's holiness. I actually enjoyed it a lot more than I expected. That's not to say that I didn't think I would enjoy it, just that I didn't expect to want to do it again. Ever since Ryan gave me the date that I would be speaking, I had been feeling worried and anxious. They say the number one fear is public speaking. . .I can definitely relate. It terrifies me. I felt extremely nervous all the way up to the point that Allison said my name and I walked up to the front of the room. Then something amazing happened. All my fear disappeared. I firmly believe that God was working in me. I've spoken in front of 15 people before and been absolutely unable to control my nerves. . .knees knocking, sweating profusely, the whole bit. That night at The Well there were around 130 students. Part of me expected to walk up, say something ridiculous in my nervousness, and run out of the room in shame. God is faithful!

As for the sermon, I'm happy with how it went. I obviously have a TON of things to work on. There were definitely several things I wish I hadn't said, mannerisms that needed controlling, etc. That's what I love about my job though. I'm in a great postion to learn and grow.

You can listen to my sermon here.
I would love to hear any feedback!